Airport worker health and safety management

A Glossary of Airside Terminology

A Glossary of Airside Terminology

The work carried out by airport ground handling staff can be challenging and the health and safety hazards many and varied. When it comes to safety, knowing and understanding the terminology used by those working airside is critical. Here, the Contego Aviation Solutions team provides a rundown of some of the keywords and phrases used by airside personnel:



– the area in an airport terminal that is beyond passport and customs control.


Agent – any member of airport personnel with responsibility for meeting the needs and ensuring the safety of passengers.


Apron – the paved area on the airside of the terminal or cargo building, designated for the parking of aircraft and any support vehicles, as well as the loading and unloading of aircraft.


Air Cargo – goods that are going to be transported by aircraft.


Baggage Handleran employee whose role is to load and unload baggage on to or off an aircraft.


Belt Loader – a vehicle featuring a conveyor belt used for the loading and unloading of baggage on to or off an aircraft.


Border Enforcement – the process of carrying out immigration and goods control at an airport, which is a border entry point to the country.


Cargo – goods carried on an aircraft or other vehicle.


Chocks – the blocks placed against the wheels of an aircraft to prevent it from moving.


De-icingthe removal of ice from an aircraft and measures to prevent the formation of ice.


Engineering – many airport engineering departments work to service aircraft and repair faults, including heating, ventilation and electronics systems.


Front of House – the area of the airport where the public is guided to and from the aircraft, with all the accompanying services and amenities.


Ground Handling or Ground Support – staff who are responsible for servicing an aircraft, loading and unloading baggage and freight, as well as preparing the aircraft for flight.


Hardstand – a paved area for the parking of heavy vehicles airside at the airport.


Jet Bridge – the bridge that connects an aircraft to an airport gate so that passengers can enter and leave an aircraft comfortably.


Landside – the area of an airport terminal where there is unrestricted access for the public.


Logistics – the organisation of the movement and transportation of equipment,cargo and people around the airport, airside and landside.


Ramp – another term for the apron, the area designated for the parking of aircraft.


Ramp Agents – those with responsibility for marshalling aircraft, loading and unloading freight and baggage, servicing the aircraft, de-icing, pushbacks and towing, and other duties that take place on the ramp.


Re-Fuelling – the process of filling up the fuel tanks of an aircraft in preparation for flight.


Runway – the airside area designated for the landing and take-off of aircraft.


Securitypersonnel and measures for keeping airline passengers and staff safe.


Tarmac – any area where aircraft can move around or park, including the runways and taxiways and also the ramp/apron.


Taxiway – a defined path established for the taxiing (movement on the ground) of aircraft from one airside area to another.


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