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Cargo Ground Handling- Services and Functions

Cargo Ground Handling

Cargo Ground Handling refers to the extensive services provided to facilitate an aircraft flight and aircraft ground preparation or aircraft ground repositioning. The functions include the customer as well as ramp service activities. Some functions include identification of the destination of the baggage or shipment and provide solutions for efficient and smooth functioning. 

The advancement of technology has shifted the perspective of ground handling being a manual task. There are integrated IT solutions that ensure proper management of physical handling, documentation, and messaging providing real-time information. 

Functions of Ground Handling Systems

With evolving technology, managing ground handling responsibilities has shifted from all the manual work to the usage of the latest ground handling software. Some of the functions of this system include:

  • Incorporation and management of all the physical and documentation process through an integrated solution.
  • Provide real-time information about the warehouse functions like the status of the shipment, time of arrival, and other relevant updates.
  • Deliver customized services and monitoring shipment depending on the requirements of the customer.
  • Ensure a shift from the traditional method of paperwork to a paperless, quick, and digitalized service to increase accuracy and performance.
  • Another important aspect is communication- keeping the customers informed and providing them real-time updates.
  • The solutions provided are end-to-end to avoid any error with minimal human interference and prevent revenue leakages.
  • These systems are future-ready with simplicity and composed functioning and management.

Services of a Ground Handler

There are various functions of representatives to ensure proper Cargo Ground Handling management:

  • Provision of tickets- If in any case, the passenger arrives at the airport without a ticket, the ground handler provides tickets for on-spot purchase.
  • Ensuring smooth check-in – The agents assist the passenger for verification of the documents, to initiate the baggage process, and look after the correct weight and size of shipment or baggage. Also, confirm the allocation of the right space depending on the size and weight of the shipment. 
  • Categorize baggage or shipment- The representatives or the ground handler make sure that they are loaded to the correct aeroplane, sorted and loaded into Unit Load Devices (ULD).
  • Assignment of the gate- The ground handlers or representatives provide proper gate information about the arrival and departure of the shipment or baggage to the passengers to avoid any sort of chaos or confusion.
  • Assistance in baggage or shipments- In case there is a matter of lost or damaged shipment or baggage, the ground agents will aid and assist the passengers through the procedure.

Importance of Ramp Services

Proper functioning of ramp services is a crucial aspect of Cargo Ground Handling. The significance of ramp services is as followed: 

  • Arrangement of wheel chocks and passenger bridge- While the aircraft is on the stand, wheel chocks inserted and boarding stairs arranged for the ease of the passenger or loading the shipment or cargo and removed once the aircraft is ready for departure.
  • Baggage and Freight Management- One of the crucial aspects of this facet is to ensure that the baggage or shipment is loaded to aircraft following a plan, structure, and instructions of the loader. This helps to secure the handling of the baggage or shipment while also assuring proper management of hazardous goods, appropriately.
  • Moving of the aircraft- The aircraft towing from maintenance facility to parking stand or from one gate to another takes place if it is required and one of the important functions of the ramp services.
  • Refueling of the aircraft- There are specified rules and protocols for refuelling the aircraft. It happens on the pilot’s command or by the dispatcher, in case the pilot is not present.
  • Maintenance and cleaning of the aircraft- After or before every flight, the cabin, and lavatories are cleaned and the garbage containers cleared. Moreover, there is a provision of products or appliances for the comfort of the passengers such as pillows, blankets, and many more.

Either Ground Handling Services are provided by the airlines or third party contractors are hired depending on the airlines and the employees. Now, the airlines have started recruiting professionals for the ground handling services to reduce dependence, to assure better functioning and it proves to be cost-effective. This factor also depends on the size of the airlines, the requirement, and availability, and the expertise of the employees.

The ground handlers look after a smooth functioning of proper security and safety measures. The local government establishes protocols and the operations of the airlines should be according to those rules. In case there is an illegal or unsafe cargo, the ground handlers are responsible and are answerable to the concerned authorities. Appropriate measures and protocols assure efficient operations of Cargo Ground Handling.

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