Training the Airside managers of the future

posted on 6th April 2018

Airside talks to Air France’s Hervé Gueusquin about how the French flag-carrier is helping train individuals, many of whom have never been in the aviation industry, for the challenges facing an airline duty manager working in a busy airport environment8. AS_Aut15 - TrainingAirside_1

Hervé Gueusquin, general management ground operations at Air France, has long experience of training airline managers of the future. He and the carrier are branching out into partnership with other organisations and agencies in their efforts to train airline personnel for management within the rigours of the ground operations environment. Most notably, Air France has teamed up with the Ecole Nationale de l’Aviation Civile (ENAC), the largest aviation-orientated university in Europe, an educational establishment based in Toulouse, France. ENAC offers a wide range of training courses for both French and foreign students.

The combined programme being offered by the partners sees students undertake two months of classroom work with Air France (which can be with the carrier in Paris or – if a large enough class is to be taught – take the form of in-house training at the home of the company concerned), followed by a year’s Master’s course with ENAC; the latter aspect of the programme includes six months of internship on-airport, in order for the student to gain practical experience as well as the theoretical training required by tomorrow’s airline ground managers.

Completing the course, the successful student is awarded an Advanced Master’s diploma from ENAC. Critically, the programme is aimed not just at airline employees; also more than welcome are those not yet in the aviation industry seeking to gain the qualification and training that will allow them to confidently approach an airline to seek work in this area.

Those who pass through the training are well equipped to take on roles such as a carrier’s passenger services supervisor, head of ramp services or airline duty manager, Gueusquin notes, explaining that the programme is also a good opportunity for Air France to demonstrate its expertise to airline managers of the future, to promote the carrier’s good name. Moreover, there’s always the possibility that some of the students will turn to Air France at some point in their career, he points out.

But the majority of the demand is likely to come from airlines looking to fast-track some of their employees to positions like on-airport duty manager; they are looking for a method by which they can quickly develop individuals with the necessary intellectual and practical skills – and experience – to take on such a role. Some of the relatively new, but rapidly growing carriers, are likely to favour such an option – ones based in Middle East, parts of Africa, China or Brazil, for instance, Gueusquin explains.


As well as the ENAC partnership, Air France also offers its own unique training offering in the form of its Learning Management Systems (LMS). Described as ‘Learning with Pleasure’, the online LMS courses offered by the airline include one devoted to Airside Operations (others cover subjects such as Operational Management suitable for station managers, duty managers and airside managers; Dangerous Goods; and Health and Safety at Work). The Airside Operations module covers themes such as load control, ramp and cargo operations and GSE.

These online courses are mostly undertaken by Air France employees, but they are also open to non-Air France employees for a fee. Those who take and pass any of the courses are accredited with a certificate from the airline to demonstrate their success.