Beginning a Career in Airport Management

airport management career

Careers in airport management

The COVID-19 pandemic hit the aviation industry hard, leaving airports with a barrage of unprecedented challenges. Travel restrictions brought air transportation to a grinding halt at the start of the crisis, resulting in unprecedented revenue loss for airports around the world. To cut costs, many airports laid off employees. But even as the demand for air travel rebounded, airports experienced staff shortages that caused flight delays and cancellations.

As we emerge from this challenging time for the aviation industry, let’s consider what airports can and should be: The airport of the future features high-tech infrastructure with systems to tackle complex operational challenges, from managing passenger flow and monitoring public safety requirements to meeting sustainability goals. In these travel hubs, passengers enjoy a seamless, safe, and convenient travel experience.

Some facilities have already taken major steps forward: Passengers going through passport control at Dubai International Airport for example, can take advantage of biometric “smart gates”, which confirm their identity without human intervention. At Hamad International Airport, passengers can avoid waiting in long queues by using self check-in kiosks and self-service bag drops.

Implementing these types of innovations requires leaders who know the ins and outs of the aviation industry and have the business expertise to translate goals into strategic plans. Professionals in airport management meet this demand, blending technical knowledge and management skills to oversee critical policies and make decisions. In this article, we’ll explore a selection of airport management careers and examine how you can start or advance in this field.

What is airport management?

Airport management is a dynamic field that involves the supervising and coordinating many of the operations that make air travel possible. Breaking into a management career in this industry requires in-depth instruction not only in business administration and analysis but also in more specialized areas of study such as:

  • Aeronautical engineering
  • Aviation safety
  • Security and emergency planning
  • Aircraft maintenance management
  • Air transport and airport operations
  • Global logistics and supply chain management
  • Airline marketing and management

Earning a master’s in business administration with a specialization in aviation management is an excellent launching point for a career in airport management, as it provides training in both high-level strategy and industry-specific operations knowledge.

Airport management careers

The aviation industry is poised for a decade of growth after widespread disruption during the COVID-19 pandemic, making it a lucrative time to seek a career in the field. Jobs database Lightcast projects that positions in the fast-moving sector will grow by 20 percent between 2022 and 2032.

Airport management careers offer a diverse range of roles with responsibilities like implementing healthy business practices, evaluating whether an airport meets local and federal safety and security standards, streamlining logistics, ensuring passenger safety, and training airline employees. Management personnel in larger airports tend to oversee multiple departments, while smaller airports need managers to take on more specialized job responsibilities in areas such as finance, security, maintenance, supply chains, and more.

Below, we detail a variety of airport management jobs, including their responsibilities and salaries.

Job Title Responsibilities Median Annual Salary
Airport Operations Manager
  • Oversee and improve daily operations
  • Plan budgets and monitor expenditures
  • Ensure compliance with laws and regulations
  • Maintain safety and security
  • Coordinate staff across various departments
Supply Chain Analyst
  • Collect and analyze data on supply chain operations
  • Develop solutions to resolve efficiency issues
  • Cultivate relationships with vendors and shippers
  • Create reports for supervisors, managers, and stakeholders
Aviation Consultant
  • Gather, analyze, and interpret data on airport operations
  • Conduct technical reviews to assess safety performance
  • Propose solutions to maximize productivity and meet goals
  • Aid airports in acquiring required certifications
Flight Logistics Coordinator
  • Maintain training and travel schedules for flight crews
  • Plan flights with consideration of weather, safety, and costs
  • Ensure compliance with regulatory requirements
  • Monitor flight logistics and coordinate changes
  • Present crew members with briefings on aircraft and flight status
Airport Marketing Manager
  • Establish and implement marketing strategy to support goals
  • Create marketing campaigns to boost airport reputation and traffic
  • Develop and manage marketing department’s budget
  • Track, analyze, and report impact of marketing activities

*Salary information from Lightcast.
**Salary information from

Skills required for airport management careers

Given the dynamic nature of the aviation industry, airport managers need a variety of skills and knowledge to be successful. You should be familiar with the organization and control of airports, as well as the finances, scheduling, and regulations involved in airport operations. Programs like Lynn’s online aviation MBA provide students with the courses and training to develop these niche competencies.

In addition to knowing the industry, you need to be able to:

  • Communicate effectively, both verbally and in writing
  • Create financial plans for various departments and projects
  • Provide calm leadership when facing unpredictable situations
  • Manage multiple teams to make sure that tasks are completed as required
  • Handle competing priorities and deadlines

As we emerge and recover from the pandemic, airports have a unique opportunity to reimagine the future and transform challenges into opportunities for advancement. Airport managers can seize this opportunity and make a difference in the future of air travel.

For those interested in pursuing a career in airport management, an online aviation MBA can help you reach your goals. The Lynn University online MBA program goes beyond the scope of the average graduate-level business degree with an aviation management specialization designed to improve students’ career prospects in the air transportation sector. This program incorporates foundational courses in business and management as well as industry-specific courses in airport operations, aviation organization management, and global aviation regulations. You’ll also graduate prepared to successfully complete the American Association of Airport Executives Certified Member designation examination, resulting in one of the most prestigious distinctions in the airport industry.

About the Lynn University Online MBA

The Lynn University online MBA prepares individuals with the managerial and decision-making skills they need to be successful in today’s business world, with up to 11 specialization offerings available to customize the degree. The program offers two paths for students to earn their degree: our Standard Online MBA and our 10-Month Online MBA. No matter their path, all online MBA students get to know their professors and classmates thanks to small class sizes. Lynn is an Apple® Distinguished School for innovation, leadership, and educational excellence. No GMAT or GRE is required for admission.

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