Global Ground Handling: Time for Change?

Ground handling teams around the world have a unique opportunity with no better time than now to ‘grow back better,’ according to the experts. A-ICE recently attended the long-awaited and much-anticipated GHI Conference, where we heard industry leaders talk about building a better environment for key growth.

A-ICE understands how technology and smart systems can shape the sector and pave the way for a strong recovery. As growth is expected to continue across the sector in the coming months, let’s take a closer look at some of the opportunities and solutions available to ground handlers.

Global Ground Handling time for change

A unique opportunity for change

With a rise in the global uptake of vaccines and health passes, positive growth across the aviation sector looks promising. Alongside growth, however, the industry knows that historic ground handling challenges will inevitably return.

Recently, at the GHI conference, speaker Chris Brown highlighted that the industry is experiencing a unique opportunity to change and build back better than before. He said that now is the time to embrace a new way forward and not to simply cope with historic challenges but overcome them for good.

Future-proofing ground handling processes is time well spent

With volumes building strongly, yet still not back to 2019 numbers, time should be well spent according to the experts. Speakers at the conference suggested that certain areas of focus could be key to future-proofing:

  • Standardising processes
  • Long-term training
  • Awareness of the potential of sector-shaping technologies
  • Streamlining asset management

These key themes ran through one of the opening sessions of the conference, highlighting the importance, the need and the opportunity to change.

Standardizing processes

Many ground handling processes can benefit from a high level of automation and standardization. This can include operational processes, weight and balance calculations and much more. When integrated between related systems, this type of automation offers a chance to maintain cost-efficiency while meeting service level agreements and compliance.


Long term staff training is another key element to future-proofing, according to industry professionals. It will go hand-in-hand with standardizing processes and implementing technology

Sector-shaping technologies

Ground handling technologies are already helping to shape the sector in many ways, simplifying operations and automating processes such as, but not limited to:

It is perhaps more important to ensure that technologies and systems are fully scalable if real changes are to be achieved. The inescapable reality learned since the end of 2019 has shown that scalability in terms of both technology and cost could be sector-shaping in itself.

For operations, and for billing, there is an opportunity for the sector to build a new way forward without the pressure of long-term, fixed-fee contracts, for example. This is by no means unheard of in the industry today, but it is far from ‘normal’ and now is the time to change that to safeguard the future of aviation.

Streamlining asset management

At the conference, speakers discussed topics that will affect or influence the industry over the next decade. Part of this includes the potential simplification of assets. The example given was the expected reduction in the use of wide-body aircraft – an opportunity to look ahead and streamline the management and type of assets needed.

Thoughts from A-ICE

A-ICE understands that ground handlers face unique pressures from all sides – pressure to deliver the shortest possible turnaround times – pressure to meet passenger expectations and keep throughflow smooth and time-sensitive. Teams must also meet service level agreements and keep operational costs above the bottom line.

We know that high levels of automation and systems integrability are needed, and we understand that teams require full control and customization. Talk to us.

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