Airport Manager

Airport managers plan, direct and coordinate all activities concerning the maintenance of airport facilities and the operation of airports in accordance with government regulations. They are also responsible for the management of personnel. At a large international airport, management tasks are often split between different managers, each with specific tasks or sections of the airport. 

Airport managers may work for a large international airport or they may work for a small municipal airport, but generally the job duties and description will be the same.  Their main responsibility is to ensure the safe and efficient operation of the airport on a daily basis.  This includes monitoring airport expenditures, coordinating construction or renovation projects, supporting the staff and making sure that all members of staff are able to provide polite, prompt and correct information to travellers, know airport policies and procedures and that passengers, luggage and freight are moved through the airport in a logical and timely manner. 

Airport managers need to monitor all employees, vendors and businesses to make sure that they comply with security procedures and airport regulations, schedule the appropriate number of staff,  hire or train staff, ensure that all ticketing and security systems are in excellent working condition, and troubleshoot any problems.  They also coordinate all the activities of personnel who are involved in the repair and maintenance of airport buildings, facilities and equipment, to improve efficiency.

Airport managers are responsible for putting procedures in place to deal with aircraft accidents and other emergencies, and the regular inspection of runways, buildings and beacons, as well as lighting, automotive and construction equipment and other airport facilities. They guide staff, for example those investigating violations of air and ground traffic regulations and those initiating disciplinary action.  They also deal with customer complaints or problems concerning airport personnel or services.

Airport managers are responsible for preparing annual budgets, which entails reviewing proposals for improvements to facilities and estimating increases in the volume of air traffic.  They may be responsible for negotiating airport contracts and leases.  Because of their level of responsibility, airport managers may be on call so that emergencies or other unexpected issues that come up can be resolved quickly, so this job could include evening and weekend shifts.

Personal Requirements

  • management ability, including understanding financial matters
  • ability to deal with people at all levels
  • understand air transport and other forms of transport that centre on an airport

How to Enter

Schooling & School Subjects

A Bachelor's Degree pass is recommended
Minimum entry: National Senior Certificate (matric) 
Compulsory subjects: None

What to Study

Airport companies offer in-service training courses for their own staff. However, any degree would be advantageous, such as BAdmin or MBA offered by most universities. Diplomas such as CIS and diplomas in accountancy and personnel management could be useful.


  • Department of Transport
  • privately owned airports

Further Information

Airport Company of South Africa (ACSA)
24 Johnson Road
The Maples Office Park
Bedfordview, JHB
Tel: (011) 723-1400                                                                                                          

Getting Started

  • speak to an airport manager at a nearby airport and observe every aspect of the job, if possible.

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