How to Become an Aircraft Cargo Handling Supervisor in the US

How to Become an Aircraft Cargo Handling Supervisor in the US

Without proper handling of cargo, more air travelers and people transporting goods would frequently complain of misplaced, lost or damaged luggage and goods. Thanks to well-trained aircraft cargo handling supervisors, though, cargo handling has become more efficient. You can join this group of professionals and contribute toward making handling of cargo even better than it is. The following information can help you know what to do to qualify as an aircraft cargo handling supervisor.

What Does Aircraft Cargo-handling Supervisors Do?

Your job will involve responsibilities such as:

  • Loading, unloading, staging and securing luggage and cargo onto airplanes
  • Operating trucks, conveyors, forklifts, baggage tugs and other airport equipment
  • Coordinating and supervising the activities of the ground crew
  • Ascertaining the orientation and quantity of cargo
  • Accompanying aircraft and monitoring cargo handling in-flight
  • Calculating weights for different compartments of the plane using charts and computers
  • Maximizing space use by distributing cargo
  • Gathering information about data handling
  • Analyzing the information to make informed decisions to solve problems
  • Advising on staffing requirements
  • Counseling, disciplining, training, hiring and terminating junior staff
  • Training subordinates to ensure they comply with industry regulations
  • Taking care of union contracts for unionized staff


Many employers expect you to fulfill most or all of these requirements:

  • High school diploma
  • associate’s or bachelor’s degree in business or equivalent from a college or technical school
  • GED Vocational Certificate
  • English language fluency
  • Six-month Airline handling experience
  • Apprenticeship from a vocational school can teach you various skills and industry regulations
  • Forklift driving experience
  • Knowledge of principles of moving goods by air
  • Knowledge of policies, procedures, equipment and strategies for general safety

Useful Skills

The following skills will enable you to be better positioned to do your job satisfactorily:

  • Interpersonal skills
  • problem solving
  • Active Listening skills
  • communication skills
  • Multi-limb Coordination
  • Ability to multitask
  • Excellent Leadership skills
  • Problem Sensitivity
  • Critical decision-making skills


The average Salary of aircraft cargo-handling supervisors is $51,270 per year. The table below shows the top paying States for aircraft cargo handling supervisors:

Entry Level



Mid career






Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

Work Environment

Like other occupations, being an aircraft cargo handling supervisor has its thrills and challenges. On most days, you will gain job satisfaction from doing what you enjoy. However, on some occasions, you may feel overwhelmed by the pressure to meet deadlines. You may also be required to resolve conflicts about lost or misplaced baggage. Working long hours and weekends and holidays is usual, but you will get days off. Supervisors also work in shifts. Noise from airplanes may cause hearing problems.

Career Prospects

Employment for aircraft cargo-handling supervisors will increase by 1% from 2012-2022 decade. New airlines are joining the market and all airlines are constantly looking for professionals like you. The job market will open up more if you regularly refresh your training and advance your education. Obtaining a master’s degree, for example, can promote your job prospects.