Small Airport Management Tips
Airport management isn’t a job you usually see in the classifieds. However, it’s a job that requires real experience and an understanding of the responsibilities that come with managing an airfield of any size. You cannot underestimate the importance of the job and a smaller airport just means fewer resources and more responsibilities that fall onto you. That’s why you need to have a strategy in place as you get set to begin. 

Being qualified to get the job and knowing how to handle it are completely different. Training is great but experience is what really pays off. However, there are some tips that can help to smooth your transition and allow you to improve your situation, especially from the beginning. 

Small Airport Management Job Description 

Depending on the size of the airport you would expect a variety of responsibilities to be included in your job description. The most important aspects are safety, personnel, regulations and finance. These are the areas that will be challenging you each and every day. If you are able to manage these areas well you should expect to have a successful career. 

Airport Management Tips 

As with any job, airport management comes with its own set of challenges. Consider taking some time to prepare a strategy for how you would like to manage things. The best time to do this is after a couple of weeks on the job. That way you have a better understanding of everything and what needs to be done. Here are some tips that can be helpful as well: 

  • Time management: One of the biggest keys to success with airport management is to make sure that you are organized and manage your time well. There are thousands of things that need to be done and you cannot dedicate too much time to one task, especially if it’s not as important as another. 
  • Routine safety checks: While the regulations for airports in your area will tell you how often you should do a safety check, it’s important to do ones yourself. You want to make sure that everything is running smoothly. This includes checking equipment, working with employees to make sure they are following all guidelines and more. 
  • Security needs to always be a focus: Security for aircraft is growing as people are traveling more since the pandemic began. While this is good for the industry, it does mean that people may not be following certain requirements. This requires your team to stay on top of all regulations as they currently stand. 
  • Keep up with training: One key area that can help you a lot is to reinforce training, no matter an employee's experience. Even experienced workers get lackadaisical, taking shortcuts and not finishing every required task. Routine training is a simple and easy way to keep everyone on a solid footing. 

There are several differences between managing a business and an actual airport. These changes come with experience and can be resolved usually with good preparation and commitment to routine. If you are not sure where to begin, try to make a schedule for each week, what you would like to cover and so forth. 

Expected Challenges 

Every new job has challenges, especially if you are managing a business. When you are taking over an airfield you are going to have a variety of challenges. Being aware of these and knowing how to handle them can save you a lot of time and difficulty. 

  • Training new airport personnel: Whether you are expanding or need to replace more experienced personnel, bringing new workers into the fold can always present a new challenge. They have strengths and weaknesses but the key is to set a tone early for how you need your airfield to run. They first need to learn your system before you make any adjustments for their specific skill set. 
  • Ensuring customer satisfaction: While it is an airfield it’s also a business and that means you are going to have customers. This is where the job can present a unique challenge because you have three bosses to an extent. You have the people who hired you, the customers and all regulators for an airfield. Keeping customers happy is important but not at the expense of the other two. 
  • Keeping everyone on schedule: Training new employees is important. Also important is keeping them on a schedule. This goes back to the point of making sure that they understand what you want from them and that they are adjusting to the airfield’s routine. 
  • Issues with weather: One of the biggest curve balls you are going to get in your job as a manager is the weather. You cannot control it and it can change at any point. This is something you need to be prepared for every day as it will have an impact on your day. 

It’s important to take some time and map out your own ideas and expectations. If you have time before you begin, try to gather as much information about the facilities and personnel as possible. Don’t be afraid to even contact your employer for additional information. They will appreciate the initiative and will be happy to make sure the transition goes smoothly. Remember, you also want to make sure that you are not setting your original strategy in stone. It’s fine to have expectations but the reality is that your plans will probably change as you get going and get a better understanding of the strengths and weaknesses that come with this position. 

Another important thing to consider is that you're going to want to factor in differences if the new position is in another state. This may mean different regulations, weather conditions, customers and even personnel management strategies. Every airfield is different and those differences are going to affect your strategy. However, that doesn’t mean you should abandon your goals if you strive to get the airfield running the way you want it to. Focus on having great communication with your team and work with them to ensure that the quality of work continues to improve and that everyone is working towards the same goal.

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