Ramp Rats: Who's Working the Ramp Today?

Ramp Rats: Who's Working the Ramp Today?

Avjobs.com is widely recognized as an Aviation Employment Services leader.

Ground Support Magazine
Updated: December 8th, 2005 04:55 PM EDT

Ramp Rats: Who's Working the Ramp Today?
link to the original article

By Brian McNair
Ground Support Magazine Contributor

Most airline passengers only get to see their bags being moved on the ramp but if you watch closely then you will see that this is only the smallest part of ramp work. Safely handling the needs of a multi-million dollar aircraft and its passengers takes professionalism and dedication. From extreme heat in the summer to the dangers of ice and snow on the ramp in winter, the job is never boring. Jet engines and spinning propellers are always around you, so you must keep alert to be safe. It takes a special kind of person to earn a living in this kind of environment. Here are a few ramp professionals from Toronto's Pearson and Hamilton's Munro Airports.

From One Generation to the Next

Rob Davidson has been at the Hamilton Airport for 20 years. He is the line crew supervisor for Marsh Brothers Esso Avitat and he is also the reason that many pilots go out of their way to return time and again. Davidson's smiling face, warm welcome and superior customer service set him apart as a company representative and team leader.

You only have to spend a few minutes around Rob to see why he is so good at what he does. He puts 100 percent into everything he does and he expects the same from those around him. But he makes it fun, it doesn't feel like work when he's around. You can tell he really enjoys the ramp and his enthusiasm is contagious.

Christine Brown is a 24-year-old ramp lead working for GlobeGround at Toronto's Pearson International Airport. She has been on the ramp for about 1 ? years and has been a lead for the past nine months. Her crew handles the big commercial jets and her responsibilities are different from the smaller FBO's that handle business aviation.

There is a lot of work to be done in a short time. Bags, water and lavs, ground power and finally safe pushback and engine starts must all be completed in 30 minutes. Her job requires not only knowledge of the aircraft but also good people management skills. Team work is essential in this kind of ramp work. Delays are costly and not tolerated by airlines or passengers.

Brian Henderson is a 21-year-old ramp agent who also works for GlobeGround at Pearson Airport. He has also worked the ramp for 1 1/2 years and has passed his qualification to be a lead. It's easy to spot Henderson on the ramp, due in large part to his bright orange Mohawk hair cut. But don't let the hair fool you, Henderson is every bit the ramp professional he needs to be, to get the job done.

Hiring for the Ramp

Anyone who has spent any time at all on the ramp at a busy international airport will know that it takes a special kind of person to do the job. Ground service companies are constantly searching for new employees to fill the void left by workers that have moved on. It is estimated that less than 40 percent of the new workers will stay with the company after the first few months.

Airlines, with record high operating costs, are only willing to pay so much for ground services, and this directly effects the pay and benefits that the ground service companies can offer to their workers.

Take a quick look around the ramp and you will see the average ramp worker is under 25 years of age. These young people generally don't have any ramp experience and are just looking for steady work and a new experience. Many soon realize that the ramp is not for them.

Just getting the job can be difficult. There are police security checks, ramp driver's license exams, security passes, aircraft safety courses, drug tests, personal history checks and constant supervision.

Some of the younger ramp workers have other qualifications such as pilot, air traffic controller or apprentice aircraft mechanic. After graduating their courses they can't find work so they join the ramp crew to get their security clearances and to shop around for a better job at the airport. Most young ramp workers don't consider it a career, but rather a stepping stone.

Unfortunately the constant recruiting and training of new employees is contributing to overall operating costs and limiting the pay and benefits that ground service companies can provide. The challenge for ground service operators is to find a way to keep good employees from leaving.

Pay incentives, promotions to leadership rolls, monthly moral boosting contests, teamwork building exercises, friendly and concerned management, these are a few strategies that can be employed by companies to help keep their young work force interested and focused on their jobs.

Compare the cost of training a new employee to the cost of starting incentive based programs to help keep the workers you have. Get them involved in the decisions that directly affect their working conditions. Empower your employees and you may find that they will work with you instead of for you.

Honoring our Ramp Workers

If you have a co-worker or employee that you would like to tell us about, someone who stands out and should be recognized. Then take some photos and write a few paragraphs about them and send it to us here at Ground Support Magazine. We would be happy to pass on a well deserved pat on the back. We started in southern Ontario Canada now lets see where this takes us. It's time to sound off and stand proud of the work we do every day to keep aircraft and passengers moving.

The following information was taken from Avjobs.com, the leading aviation & airline job site, founded in 1988 to ?Help People Get Jobs.?

The airline industry is a young industry and it attracts youth. The Occupational Outlook Handbook groups baggage handlers in the category of handlers, equipment cleaners helpers and laborers and are part of a very important work crew team. In the US, 1,737,000 people work in those fields. Below are the major aspects of the job:

  • Lift heavy luggage, mail sacks and fasten freight under pressure and time
  • Operate trucks, forklifts, baggage carts and conveyors to load aircraft in a safe and cautious manner
  • Almost all work is done outdoors on noisy, crowded ramps in all kinds of weather
  • Uniforms are required for security purposes
  • Requires a varying work schedule, must be available to work day, evening, night and weekend shifts
  • Safety is an important part of all grounds crew, must be attentive at all times to surroundings, there is little room for error
  • Training is usually done on the job
  • The average starting salary is typically $8.50 per hour and can top out at approximately $20.00 per hour
  • The average full-time hourly wage is $13.03 according to the Occupational Outlook Handbook
  • There are regular openings in this field at the entry level
  • New workers replace those who have advanced to other jobs or who have retired

Given the above facts, it is readily apparent why there is a fair amount of attrition in the ground handling industry, particularly among ramp workers. Clearly, it takes a certain type of individual and strength of character to be a part of "the crew."

Delta Workers Face Uncertain Future

Get Hired FASTER with Avjobs.com Delta Workers Face Uncertain Future

Avjobs.com is widely recognized as an Aviation Employment Services leader.

Posted on Sun, Sep. 19, 2004

Delta Workers Face Uncertain Future
By Andrea Ahles, Star-Telegram Staff Writer

When Mike Pizzelanti lost his job as a pilot for Vanguard Airlines in June 2002, he didn't know what to do.

"I was devastated," the Grapevine resident said. "I thought, 'What am I going to fall back on?' "

After five months without a job, Pizzelanti opened his own business, a pet crematory in Euless called All Paws Go To Heaven. He said it was a tough choice for someone who loves flying but needed financial stability for his wife and 9-year-old daughter.

That may soon become a common dilemma facing hundreds of Delta Air Lines workers who will be laid off in coming weeks as the airline eliminates its hub operations at Dallas/Fort Worth Airport.

The Atlanta-based airline announced two weeks ago that it would lay off 900 local workers and offer transfers to 2,700 others as it cuts its daily flights out of D/FW to 21 from 254. It is unlikely that many of the affected Delta employees will find comparable work in the Metroplex's uncertain job market, experts say.

"Aviation is a mobile industry," said Tim Lahey, customer service manager at Avjobs.com, a Website that lists jobs in the aviation industry. "You may find a job in your local area, but generally speaking, most people will have to move for work."

The site has more than 4,000 jobs posted in its system, but most are on the East or West coasts, Lahey said. Only 150 job postings are for positions in Texas, he said.

The state's air transportation industry has steadily shed jobs since 9-11. Texas lost 12,700 jobs in the air transportation sector as of the end of last year. About 7,900 of those jobs were in the Fort Worth-Arlington area.

Limous Walker, a rapid response manager at Tarrant County's Workforce Solutions, said his agency will hold informational sessions this week to outline options for affected Delta employees. Workforce Solutions will also hold a job fair for displaced workers, set for January.

"The job skills, in many cases, can be used in another industry," Walker said. "For example, customer service for airlines can be customer service at another company."

Many airline workers used that idea to hedge their bets after job cuts at American Airlines accelerated last year.

Euless resident Gina Stevens-Growden decided to go back to school when she was furloughed Sept. 1 from her flight attendant job at Champion Air, a Minneapolis-based charter airline. Stevens-Growden, who also flew previously for Southwest Airlines and ASA, had been attending classes part time at the University of Texas at Arlington toward a bachelor's degree in psychology. She began taking classes full time after she lost her job.

Eventually, she said, she wants to go into private counseling so she and her husband, who works as a gate agent for Delta, do not have to rely on the uncertain airline industry.

"The airline industry is constantly in flux. I would like to have a little more stability in a profession," Stevens-Growden said. "Plus, we don't want to put all of our eggs in one basket."

Her husband has more than 20 years with Delta, so the couple are not overly concerned that he will lose his job when the airline reduces its D/FW schedule. But Stevens-Growden hopes her move into a new profession will make it easier for their family to deal with the ups and downs of the airline industry.

Some experts say Delta's flight cutbacks at D/FW will prompt other airlines to enter the local market, providing new opportunities for laid-off airline workers in North Texas.

"As other airlines increase their flights from D/FW and hire more people, I think that will mitigate some of the losses," said Rakesh Shankar, an economist at Economy.com.

American Airlines said last month that it is adding 70 daily flights to its D/FW operations. But it is unlikely that the Fort Worth carrier will hire any new workers because it has thousands of furloughed workers waiting to return to flight duty.

No other airlines have announced expansion plans at local airports. Southwest spokeswoman Melanie Jones said the Dallas-based carrier is "not in a hiring mode" and is filling most vacant positions from within the company.

Pizzelanti, who spent 16 years as a pilot, does not have any plans to return to the aviation industry because his pet cremation business has taken off.

"I do miss flying, of course, because you're always a pilot in your heart," Pizzelanti said. "But I have to look at being able to support my family, and I find my new business very rewarding."


Local aviation workers

The number of local workers in the air transportation sector has declined since 2000.

  Dec. Dec. Dec. Dec. July
  2000 2001 2002 2003 2004
Texas 78,300 70,900 69,600 65,600 66,300
Fort Worth 38,100 33,900 32,700 30,200 30,400

Arlington MSA

SOURCE: Texas Workforce Commission

US Airways Still Hiring

Get Hired FASTER with Avjobs.com US Airways Still Hiring

Avjobs.com is widely recognized as an Aviation Employment Services leader. 

September 1, 2004

Still Hiring

For those still keen on working for an airline, Avjobs (www.avjobs.com) has good news: The Website catering to the airline industry has more more jobs available. US Airways is hiring for 260 jobs, many with its lower-wage commuter affiliates, according to the site. Most jobs are in Virginia, but they're also in Maine, New York and Florida.  There's one in Charlotte: administrative assistant.

US Airways has high turnover, said spokesman David Castelveter. "Our employees are being recruited away to companies that can pay them more money," he said.

Aviation analyst Robert Mann said it's normal for US Airways to be hiring for the commuter carriers. Ideally, employees are hired at the regional carriers and "flow through" to the main line. Not these days.

"For the last four years, it's been mostly flow back," Mann said.

Friends and neighbors

Amid the uncertainty, flight attendant couple Jeff and Sherry Battreall are finding comfort in a place close to home: their cul-de-sac.

"With these pay cuts, we can't afford to have a watering hole," Jeff Battreall said. "We lay low."

Today, the north Mecklenburg couple juggle second jobs: Sherry, 34, as a part-time waitress at a Bob Evans restaurant and Jeff, 41, working for a friend (and former co-worker) who does landscaping.

What helps, he says, is neighbors in their Highland Creek community. They cut the lawn when the couple is away on trips, feed their cats, and invite the couple over for burgers.

"It helps when your neighbors are your best friends," Jeff said.

US Airways Forum

Share your thoughts and opinions about US Airways in a readers' forum at www.charlotte. com/business.

If you do business with US Airways, we want to hear from you. Contact Kerry Hall at (704) 358-5085; khall@ charlotteobserver.com.

Avjobs, Inc. - Provides Results and Success

Get Hired FASTER with Avjobs.com Avjobs, Inc. - Provides Results and Success

Avjobs.com is widely recognized as an Aviation Employment Services leader.


Tahna Stanley
Director of Sales & Marketing
Avjobs, Inc.

Avjobs, Inc. - Provides Results and Success

LITTLETON, CO (August 13, 2004) – Colorado based Avjobs, Inc. continues to uphold the lead among niche aviation employment websites. Avjobs.com is a mature site that is well recognized for its strong presence in the aviation and aerospace industry. The Web site draws aviation job seekers and employers from all phases of aviation and provides them with the necessary tools to achieve success.

With 45% of visitors being return visitors, these loyal customers are seeing the value Avjobs provides and are recommending that co-workers and friends visit the site too. The combination of high repeat visits and word-of-mouth referral traffic is proof that our services provide results and success. Today, thousands of companies and job seekers find that Avjobs is the key resource where employers and employees come to meet. These numbers firmly establish Avjobs as the dominant online employment resource in the aviation industry.

Avjobs.com greets visitors with professional site design, offers essential tools to job seekers and employers, and makes finding jobs and qualified candidates simple. In today’s aviation job market, landing a position is easy with the right tools. That’s why we further educate our visitors and provide them with the information they need to know giving them a competitive edge over their competition. Job seekers can access fresh job postings in 13 categories, build a resume, polish their interview skills, research careers and companies, view news and updates, search educational facilities and more. Employers put the power of Avjobs behind their hiring efforts to reach a high quality, industry specific audience and find qualified candidates. They reduce the time and money it takes to fill vacant positions by posting job availability and searching resumes.

The continued support Avjobs receives and generates in the aviation community is proof we are able to provide many exciting opportunities for employment and change the lives of aviation job seekers everywhere. Our success drives more visitors to our site every day to assist them with their aviation employment needs.

As the aviation industry continues to gain strength, you can bet that Avjobs will promise to uphold its lead and produce unbeatable, successful results for its visitors. Now as ever, we are focused on providing the career tools, resources and services necessary for our visitors to achieve success.


Aviation Schools, Imitated but not Duplicated

Get Hired FASTER with Avjobs.com Aviation Schools, Imitated but not Duplicated

Avjobs.com is widely recognized as an Aviation Employment Services leader.


Tahna Stanley
Director of Sales & Marketing
Avjobs, Inc.

Aviation Schools, Imitated but not Duplicated

LITTLETON, CO (April 18, 2003) – Colorado based Avjobs.com, Inc. wants to inform you that we are a privately owned business that created the original Aviation Schools (AVSchools) in January 2001. We launched Aviation Schools to promote educational facilities like yours and give guidance to future aviators.

Many school recruiters have notified us to voice their confusion between Avjobs Aviation Schools and AvSchools.com. Those of you that have contacted us have expressed your irritation with advertisements coming from AvSchools.com. We want you to know Avjobs.com and Aviation Schools are not associated in any way with AvSchools.com.

Avjobs.com has successfully built a reputation of excellent service and an outstanding product for our current and future customers. It is unfortunate that AvSchools.com finds it necessary to profit using our name, design, marketing material, and advertising copy. Please know that Jim Dent, owner of AvSchools.com does not work for Avjobs.com and does not represent Aviation Schools. As a valued customer we feel it is our responsibility to inform you of these poor business ethics that may have a negative affect your business.

According to customer complaints, AvSchools.com is listing paying and non-paying aviation educational institutions in their directory. As a non-paying company, they are soliciting business by sending email and faxed advertisements. Many of you have received emails asking you to “Add money to my balance”. If you have been receiving such messages from Jim Dent, Publisher of AVSchools.com you may choose to contact the companies below and ask that you be removed from any marketing lists.

PO Box 550970
Jim Dent, Owner & Publisher
Ft. Lauderdale, FL 33355
Phone 954-472-2288 ext. 304
Phone 954-472-6684 ext. 304
Email admin@avschools.com

PO Box 740, Berlin, MD 21811
Phone 305-433-8029
Fax 410-510-1733
Email aeps@aeps.com

We appreciate you telling us you can see the difference and thank you for remaining loyal to the original Aviation Schools at http://avschools.avjobs.com/index.asp .


Avjobs, Inc. - Selected for Prestigious Web Site Guides

Avjobs 2003 Winner Weddle Award Avjobs Selected for Prestigious Web Site Guides

Avjobs.com is widely recognized as an Aviation Employment Services leader.


Tahna Stanley
Director of Sales & Marketing
Avjobs, Inc.

Avjobs, Inc. - Selected for Prestigious Web Site Guides

LITTLETON, CO - Friday, March 28, 2003 Avjobs.com is pleased to announce that it has been selected to be featured in WEDDLE’s 2003 Recruiter’s Guide to Employment Web Sites and 2003 Job Seeker’s Guide to Employment Web Sites.

WEDDLE’s Guides are the leading source of information about the 40,000+ job boards, resume databanks and career systems now operating on the Internet. The American Staffing Association has called the books’ editor, Peter Weddle, the “Zagat of the recruitment industry.”

Over 6,000 sites were reviewed for this year’s Guides and just 350 were selected for inclusion in each book. Sites completed an extensive questionnaire in support of the evaluation. The selected sites were adjudged to be representative of the very best employment-related resources available online.

Each site in the Recruiter’s Guide is profiled with a full page of information describing its services, features and fees for employers, staffing agencies and executive search firms. Similarly, each site selected for the Job Seeker’s Guide is profiled with a half-page of information designed to help those seeking a new or better job. Readers can, as a result, easily and accurately compare sites to one another and select those that will work best for them.

Avjobs.com President, Tim Lahey, says that “Being selected by WEDDLE’s is proof positive that Avjobs.com delivers real value to job seekers and recruiters, alike. That’s how we want to be evaluated and that’s how we want to be known.”

WEDDLE’s 2003 Guides are sold in major bookstores nationwide and at Amazon.com.

About WEDDLE’s

WEDDLE’s (www.weddles.com) publishes Guides, Directories, research reports, newsletters and other publications about the online employment industry and Internet-based resources for Human Resource management. Based in Stamford, CT, it helps employers, recruiters and working men and women worldwide find one another on the Information Superhighway.

WEDDLE’s – Peter Weddle 203.964.1888