Hi again, Alex here!
One of the most enjoyable and fascinating parts about working at the airport is that if you work in Operations, you are responsible for the safe and efficient handling of the aircraft. In May of last year I received my final check out meaning that I am officially certified to handle Lufthansa’s longhaul aircraft. This means that I oversee safety related aspects in regards to the loading, unloading, and servicing of the aircraft while it is on the ground.
I have to say that on a warm summer’s day there is nothing quite like stepping out on to the ramp, having downtown Boston immediately on your left, the Atlantic Ocean immediately on your right, and right in front of you, up close and personal, is a towering Boeing 747 with its roaring engines as it pulls into the gate. It really is exhilarating!
But it’s not all fun and games: turning around aircraft requires an innate sense of timing, precise safety knowledge, and the ability to enforce Lufthansa standards for quality and safety at the airport. A lot of people depend on you to do your job properly, from caterers and fuellers, to cleaners, cockpit crew, and most of all, the passengers. You are the oil on the gears that make airport operations tick to the beat of a second.
One of the most critical parts of Operations is ensuring that the plane you are handling is loaded properly, i.e. that it is loaded safely and that it is “in balance.” When a plane is loaded, the weight must be distributed evenly. If there is too much weight in the forward part of the aircraft or too much weight in the aft (the rear) part of the aircraft, it will not be safe to operate. As an Operations agent, I must keep an eye on the balance of the aircraft, whilst keeping an eye on the time, making sure the plane is properly serviced, and that all the bags that are checked in make it onto the plane. With only about 2 hours to unload several tons of cargo, bags, passengers, refuel the plane, and reload it with several more tons of cargo, there is a lot to be done in precious little time! It can be hectic and stressful sometimes, but it is always fun.
I enjoy Ops most because I am the one who makes sure that things are moving, I am the main touchpoint for communications between various stakeholders, I am the one with his eye on the safety of the plane on the ground, and it doesn’t hurt that I get to climb around big jet planes all day long ;)
On Thursday, we’ll turn talk to coordination and Friday we’ll talk a bit about life at the station! I look forward to seeing you there.