Airport Information Assistant

The Job and What's Involved

As an airport information assistant your job would be to help and support passengers in the airport terminal, dealing with requests for information and keeping passengers updated on changes to flights.

Your duties would include:

  • Giving out up-to-date information on flights and services.
  • Directing passengers around the airport, for example to the right departure gate.
  • Answering telephone enquiries.
  • Making announcements on the public address system.
  • Handling complaints.
  • Updating and monitoring a computerised flight information system.

Most of your time would be spent at the information desk in the main concourse, working as part of a small team.

In smaller airports your duties may also include:

Exchanging currency
Booking hotels and car hire
Dealing with lost property

Information desks are usually staffed 24 hours a day and you would typically work shifts on a rota. Part-time hours may be available.

Airports are often busy, crowded and noisy. You would deal with a range of enquiries and may need to use your initiative in certain situations, such as helping passengers who do not speak English, or helping to reunite parents with a lost child.

Starting salaries can be between £11,000 and £14,000 a year. With experience and extra responsibility, this could rise to between £17,000 and £24,000 a year.

Getting Started with this Career Choice

See the International Air Transport Association website for a list of airlines and the Airport Operators Association website for airport contact information.

According to GoSkills, the Sector Skills Council for transport, there is a high concentration of jobs in London and the south-east due to the presence of major airports in the area.

Jobs are also advertised in the local and national press, Jobcentre Plus and with specialist recruitment agencies.

Education and Training

Most employers would expect you to have a good general standard of education, including GCSE's (grades A-C) in English and maths, or equivalent qualifications. You would usually need to be over 18 to comply with shift work regulations.

Employers might also look for:

Previous experience of working in a customer service role.

Fluency in at least one foreign language (especially French and German).

Candidates who live near the airport or have their own transport.

You could find work on a temporary or seasonal contract before applying for a permanent position.

You may be able to get into this job through an Apprenticeship. The range of Apprenticeships available in your area will depend on the local jobs market and the types of skills employers need from their workers.

Apprenticeships and Advanced Apprenticeships provide structured training with an employer. As an apprentice you must be paid at least £95 per week; you may well be paid more. A recent survey found that the average wage for apprentices was £170 a week. Your pay will depend on the sector in which you work, your age, the area where you live and the stage at which you have arrived in the Apprenticeship.

Entry to Employment (e2e) can help to prepare those who are not yet ready for an Apprenticeship. In addition, Young Apprenticeships may be available for 14- to 16-year-olds. More information is available from a Connexions personal adviser or at www.apprenticeships.org.uk.

There are different arrangements for Apprenticeships in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

For further information visit My World of Work www.myworldofwork.co.uk/modernapprenticeships, Careers Wales www.careerswales.com; and for Northern Ireland contact www.careersserviceni.com.

A Few More Exams You Might Need

Your employer would usually put you through a structured induction programme. This would involve practical exercises, videos and presentations covering:

Familiarisation with the airport
Emergency and evacuation procedures
Using the public address system
Managing computerised flight information

You may be encouraged to work towards the following work-based qualifications:

NVQ Level 2 in Providing Aviation Operations on the Ground

NVQ Level 3 in Coordinating Aviation Operations on the Ground.

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You may use life saving skills as part of your day-to-day work.

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Skills and Personal Qualities Needed

An airport information assistant needs:

  • Excellent communication skills.
  • The ability to respond quickly and efficiently to customer requests.
  • Tact and diplomacy to deal with difficult situations.
  • The ability to work within a team.
  • Good computer skills.
  • Smart appearance.

Your Long Term Prospects

With experience, you could progress to a management position, for example flight dispatcher, overseeing all aspects of aircraft turnarounds.

You could move into other areas of airport operations, or even train to become cabin crew.

Get Further Information

Royal Aeronautical Society,
4 Hamilton Place, London W1J 7BQ
Tel: 020 7670 4300
Website: www.aerosociety.com

GoSkills, Concorde House,
Trinity Park, Solihull, Birmingham B37 7UQ
Tel: 0121 635 5520
Website: www.goskills.org

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