Airports are usually operated by a director or manager responsible either to the private owners of the airport or to the local government authorities. The airport manager must be a person of many talents and competent in public relations, economics, business management, civil engineering, personnel management, labor relations, and politics. If the manager is self employed as a small airport operator, he or she probably also operates an aircraft repair station, sells aviation fuel, gives flight lessons, and offers taxi or charter flights.
The manager is involved in executive business decisions and may be required to:
Depending upon the size of the airport, the manager may supervise an assistant manager, engineer, controller, personnel officer, maintenance superintendent, and supporting office workers (such as secretaries, typists, and clerks).
Working conditions will vary greatly, depending upon the size of the airport. At a large airport, the manager works in an office usually located in the terminal building. Office hours are regular except in times of emergencies. Travel may be required to negotiate leases with airline tenants or to confer with state and federal officials. If the manager operates a very small airport, he or she may spend long hours giving flying lessons, making charter flights, or working in the aircraft repair station.
Managers of airports that provide airline service usually are required to have either a college degree in one of the following areas: airport management, business administration, or aeronautical or civil engineering or a Diploma of Airport Management. The airport manager may also need to have had experience as an assistant at an airport. Managers of very small airports can qualify in some cases if they have only a high school diploma, but usually they must have a pilot certificate and three to five years of experience in jobs associated with airport services, such as fixed base operator, superintendent of maintenance, or assistant to the airport manager.
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