Challenges and best practices for ground handling services

Mudyawabikwa, Caleb M. (2011-03)

Thesis (MBA)--University of Stellenbosch, 2011.


Ground handling is a key component of the air transport logistics supply chain as it facilitates the mobility of cargo and people from one destination to another. Ground handling facilitates international trade hence its existence is critical to the competitiveness of a nation. Airline businesses usually overshadow ground handling due to the historical dominance of airlines in the aviation industry. The importance and effectiveness of the ground handling function as part of the air transport business is fast becoming a global issue as the industry is slowly emerging. The following tenets of ground handling are fast becoming key issues in the air transport business: passenger handling, cargo handling, handling ramp handling, baggage handling, equipment, safety, security, and human resources. Ground handling players are mainly concerned with productivity, profitability and maximising returns on investment. Dwindling revenue, unsustainable profit margins, low productivity and low customer satisfaction and loyalty are terms no shareholder or business leader wants to hear. This research will give insight into ground handling best practices that are a panacea for the industry. The ground handling business is time sensitive and requires massive investment. Therefore, sustainable best practices are the right ingredient for customer loyalty and business success. The focus on ground handling in South Africa and Zimbabwe will help in assessing the level of development in each country. This will aid in recommending best practices for the industry taking into account different country-specific risks and operational conditions. There are few studies in the field of ground handling and it is an industry not many individuals know about. Many ground-handling executives admit that the industry absorbed them by accident and not by design. They only realise the importance of the industry when they are in it. This research is a practical study meant to bring out solutions to the industry.

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