The transport and logistics sector is huge, covering air, rail, road and water. We take a look at three air passenger transport roles.
In the air – air cabin crew
Air cabin crew make sure that all the passengers on board their flight have a safe and comfortable journey. They perform pre-flight checks to make sure that everything is in good working order and, after welcoming passengers on board, they perform in-flight tasks including giving safety presentations, serving food and drinks, selling duty free products and generally looking after the passengers.
There are certain skills that air cabin crew need to have. These include good communication and teamwork skills, numeracy skills, a polite yet firm approach for dealing with any difficult passengers and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations.
Very specifically, air cabin crew need to be aged 18 or 21 for some airlines, have a good level of fitness, be able to swim, have normal colour vision, hold a passport with no restrictions on it and they must undergo a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check.
You don’t need anything higher than a decent secondary school education, including maths and English GCSEs at grades 9 – 4. If you did want to study further before beginning your career then an HNC / HND, foundation degree or bachelor’s degree in something like hospitality management or leisure and tourism would be a good option.
Some of the perks of working as a member of cabin crew are that some airlines offer extra allowances (pay) for additional languages that you speak and most offer overnight payments for nights away, free domestic flights and discounted international flights.
Pilots fly passengers or cargo from one destination to another. They have responsibility for the safe operation of the aircraft and for passenger and crew safety.
Airline pilots perform pre-flight checks, route planning, communicate with air traffic control, check data in-flight and adjust the flight plan if necessary, keep the passengers and crew updated throughout the flight and complete flight reports.
As is the case with air traffic controllers, those wanting to train as a pilot must pass a medical test (Class 1) before they can begin training for their Airline Transport Pilots Licence (ATPL). This training is very expensive and costs between £60,000 and £90,000. There is a Level 6 Apprenticeship in Professional Aviation Pilot Practice available which offers a route to becoming a pilot.
You would need GCSEs at grades 9 – 4 and A-levels, ideally in English, maths, science and a second language. Studying for a degree in aviation which includes pilot training is another option.
You would begin by working as a co-pilot. After you have clocked up 1500 flying hours, your licence can be moved from frozen ATPL status to unfrozen and you can qualify as an airline captain. You must be at least 21 years old to hold a full ATPL.
Starting salaries for airline pilots are between £20,000 – £30,000. An experienced pilot can earn anywhere between £38,000 and £90,000 and a higher experienced pilot can earn up to £140,000.
On the ground – air traffic controller
Air traffic controllers are highly trained professionals who, using radar and other technology, track planes and support pilots through take-off, landing and in-flight. As an air traffic controller you could be in charge of the airspace between airports (an area controller) or you could be guiding pilots through landing (an approach controller). To find out whether you might be the right sort of person for this job you could complete some of the online activities at www.nats.aero.
You must be over 18 and you must have a minimum of five GCSEs, including maths and English at grades 9 – 4 to train as an air traffic controller. It’s not necessary, but a degree which is numerical or technical in nature might be beneficial.
There are some other strict requirements and you will have to pass a medical test (the European Class 3 medical certificate). You must have normal blood pressure and no evidence of heart, gastro-intestinal tract or respiratory disease. You must have a body mass index of below 35, not have epilepsy, have normal colour vision and no auditory problems.
It takes around 3 – 4 years to train as an air traffic controller. Whilst training you would earn a salary of £13,154, rising to between £32,000 and £36,000 once you’ve completed and passed your training. There are opportunities to earn a great deal more than this with experience, but do bear in mind that for every 3,330 applicants there are 15 validated controllers.