What Is the Average Salary of an Airport Manager?

Research what it takes to become an airport manager. Learn about the requirements, duties, job outlook and salary to find out if this is the career for you. Schools offering Driver Training degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Is an Airport Manager?

An airport manager is an executive who oversees all the operations of an airport. Their goal is to ensure that passengers are safely and efficiently boarded on flights, that flights take off and land as scheduled, and that all baggage is transferred appropriately. In order to ensure the safety of passengers and staff they follow FAA and appropriate guidelines to ensure that passengers and luggage are screened and that safety checks are completed regularly. They respond to any mechanic or medical issues and may have to arrange for medical care in the event of a medical emergency. They may also have to arrange to have wildlife removed from the airport. They create schedules for flights and may have to cancel flights or ground aircraft in the event of a weather or security issue that threatens the safety of passengers and crew.

Degree Required Bachelor's degree at minimum; some hold MBAs
Education Field of Study Business administration, airport or aviation management, aeronautical engineering
Key Responsibilities Operations coordination, personnel management, accounting
Job Growth (2014-2024)* 7% (all kinds of general and operations managers); -1% (all kinds of chief executives)
Median Salary (2015)* $97,730 (all kinds of general and operations managers); $175,110 (all kinds of chief executives)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Job Responsibilities For Airport Managers

You'll be responsible for maintaining the general operations of an airport. Most airport managers are overseen by a local government or an airport's private owner. For this position, you'll need to be proficient in business administration, public relations, economics and human resources management.

Airport managers may oversee the business operations, finances, legal matters and mechanical capabilities of an airport. If you work in a larger airport, you might supervise engineers, control officers, assistant managers or supporting staff. If you work at a smaller airport, your responsibilities could include running fuel and service stations as well as giving flight lessons.

Are There Any Professional or Educational Prerequisites?

Aspiring airport managers may have a bachelor's degree in business administration, airport management or aeronautical engineering. Some managers hold a Master of Business Administration. In an aviation management or business administration program, you might take courses like aviation marketing, airport administration, economics of air transportation, labor relations in the aviation industry and airline management.

Additionally, you may need some experience in the industry to become an airport manager. Some aspiring managers have prior experience as operations agents or assistant managers. Job duties for these positions might include overseeing maintenance of airport grounds, managing equipment upkeep and supervising technical personnel.

What's the Job Market Like?

Though the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) does not specify wage information for airport managers, the level of responsibility sometimes places this position among that of chief executives or general and operations managers within more complex airport operations. In May 2015, the median annual wage for chief executives was $175,110, with a -1% job growth rate predicted between 2014-2024. Also according to the BLS, the median annual wage for general and operations managers was $97,730 in 2015. Job openings for general and operations managers were expected to rise by 7% between 2014 and 2024.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

Transportation managers and emergency management directors share some common tasks with airport managers. Transportation managers make schedules for the vehicles they are responsible for, and their focus is to ensure the safe transport of all passengers. Like airport managers they may have to implement security checks and may have to respond to weather issues and change schedules or cancel transit. They typically need a bachelor's degree. Emergency management directors also need a bachelor's degree. They respond to emergency situations, such as a terrorist threat or natural disaster. They may implement a response plan in the event of a tornado or other storm that threatens the lives of people or damage to property. This aspect of their work is similar to the work that airport managers do, because airport managers may need to respond to the threat of natural disasters and implement a safety plan, ground planes or in extreme cases move passengers.

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