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Airport Ramp Agent: Salary, Duties and Requirements

Airport ramp agents are sometimes known as fleet service agents, clerks or baggage handlers. Agents load and unload suitcases, luggage and cargo from aircraft and transportation hubs. Read on to find out more about airport ramp agents.

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Salary for an Airport Ramp Agent

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), annual salaries for baggage handlers in the scheduled air transportation industry were $20,330 as of May 2013 (www.bls.gov). The middle 50% of baggage handlers in all industries earned between $16,730 and $35,090, according to the BLS. Baggage handlers in general could expect average growth between 2012 and 2022. Baggage handlers promoted to aircraft cargo handling supervisors in the air transportation industry received average annual wages of $48,790, stated the BLS.

Job Duties for an Airport Ramp Agent

Airport ramp agents begin daily operations by picking up luggage and cargo from conveyor belts in designated areas. Agents then transfer these loads onto container carts, to be transported from the main hub to the aircraft. Once agents have arrived at the designated aircraft, they may either manually transfer the shipments from the vehicle to the aircraft or use a belt conveyor; a specialized loading vehicle that uses a conveyor belt to raise cargo so that it can be easily dropped into storage spaces overhead.

According to job postings on CareerBuilder.com in January 2011, airport ramp agents may also use specialized vehicles called tugs to assist the airplane pilot in pushing back from the terminal. Ramp agents may also use hand instruments to direct the pilot. Additionally, agents may use tugs to guide the plane into the terminal after landing. Other duties include operating deicer units, washing airplane windows and servicing aircraft lavatories.

Airport Ramp Agent Requirements

Job postings on CareerBuilder.com in January 2011 indicate that air transportation companies may prefer candidates who have earned their high school diploma or GED certificate. Some companies may favor candidates who have previous experience in baggage handling or customer service. However, according to the BLS, most airport ramp agent positions don't require any postsecondary education or training. Entry-level agents typically receive some on-the-job training, which may last one week.

Aside from educational requirements, employers prefer candidates who have a valid driver's license. Due to the manual work required, applicants must also be able to continuously lift over 60 lbs. of weight, according to job postings from January 2011 in CareerBuilder.com. Additional requirements may include passing a background investigation and drug test.

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