Clearance (air traffic)

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Under Handling (also known as ground handling referred to) are all services related to the aircraft at the airport, including of loading of goods or persons, the creation of the necessary for the transport papers and documents and the supply of the aircraft with operating and consumables etc., subsumed.

Handling of aircraft

Handling of an aircraft at Düsseldorf Airport

In air traffic, the handling of an aircraft is the preparation of an aircraft for the next flight.

The individual handling steps depend on whether the aircraft is being made available for the first time on that day or whether the aircraft is already in a turnaround , ie has already flown to airports on that day . The complex processes, which should run as time-saving and safely as possible, are coordinated by an operator (planning) and a ramp agent (checking that they are carried out correctly). The individual process steps include:

Handling of passengers

Boarding pass control at Vienna International Airport

Handling in passenger air traffic means all customer contacts and services that range from checking in the passenger for a flight (usually in the check-in hall) to entering the aircraft . The handling is carried out either by the airline itself or by a handling agent.

To ensure that everything runs smoothly, extensive process descriptions are defined, which the handling agent must also adhere to. These processes include a .:

  • the handling of airline tickets
  • the check-in procedure, which can be designed differently due to technical and organizational measures (for example, when checking in the evening before, which allows passengers to check in their luggage the day before)
  • Rules for allocating seats (e.g. taking into account seats that are particularly suitable for disabled people or for families with small children)
  • Hand luggage handling
  • Limits on the number, size and weight of luggage depending on the class of transport
  • Measures in the event of delay or cancellation (e.g. rules for rebooking, issuing hotel vouchers, etc.)

Clearance hall (terminal)

check-in counter

Check-in counter at Munich Airport

In air traffic, a check-in counter is the area in which a passenger checks in for a flight in the check-in hall. This check-in counter is manned either by staff from the airline itself or by a handler who provides all services for the airline, from checking in the passenger to boarding the aircraft.

Handling company

A handler or handling company is a service provider who renders the services for an airline from the passenger's check-in in the terminal hall to the passenger's boarding of the aircraft. For the provision of this handling service, which is usually specified in detail by the airline in its precise process descriptions, in addition to a basic remuneration, a handling fee depending on the number of passengers.

Access to the groundhandling market in the European Union has been gradually liberalized since 1998. A distinction is made between self-handling, i.e. airlines that provide ground handling themselves, and third-party handling by service providers. These can either be subsidiaries of the respective airport operator or private companies. According to the Ground Handling Service Ordinance (BADV), a handling license may be issued at German airports for a maximum of seven years and must be tendered across Europe before being awarded.

The following handling companies, among others, which are not subsidiaries of airport operators, operate at airports in German-speaking countries:

KLM self-handling in Amsterdam Schiphol
Handling company Airports
Acciona Dusseldorf
Aviapartner Düsseldorf , Hanover
Dnata Geneva , Zurich
Swissport Basel , Berlin-Schönefeld , Geneva , Munich , Zurich
Wisag Berlin-Schönefeld , Berlin-Tegel , Frankfurt , Hamburg , Cologne
LOSCH Airport Service Stuttgart, Memmingen

Other European handling companies include:

  • Airline Assistance Switzerland (Switzerland)
  • Alyzia (France)
  • Aviator Airport Alliance Europe AB (Sweden)
  • Baltic Ground Services UAB (Lithuania)
  • Cobalt Ground Solutions Ltd (UK)
  • Goldair Handling SA (Greece)
  • groundforce PORTUGAL (Serviços Portugueses de Handling, SA) (Portugal)
  • John Menzies plc (UK)
  • WFS Worldwide Flight Services (France)

Individual evidence

  1. Directive 96/67 / EC: Groundhandling services at Community airports , accessed on March 9, 2017
  2. Section 7, Paragraphs 1 and 4: Ordinance on Ground Handling Services at Airfields (PDF; 121 kB), accessed on March 30, 2018


  • Sebastian Kummer, Hans-Joachim Schramm: International transport and logistics management. Utb, 2007. ISBN 3-8252-8335-6
  • IATA (Ed.): IATA Ground Operations Manual . 6th edition. Montreal, Geneva 2016, ISBN 978-92-9252-964-2 (English).

Web links

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