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An aircraft lineman -- also called a line service technician -- is a support person based in a general service airport. General service airports serve local pilots and small air services rather than major airlines. The lineman might have a variety of duties, depending on the organization, but most include customer service, safety procedures, routine cleaning and maintenance.
Required Skills and Characteristics
Because customer service is a major part of the lineman’s job, good interpersonal and communication skills are necessary. Linemen are part of the ground service team and must be able to work with other employees such as pilots and aircraft mechanics. The job often requires physical strength and stamina to move airplanes and perform cleaning or loading tasks. Linemen should have good vision and hearing for safety reasons. General service airports are often open seven days a week, and the lineman might need to work flexible schedules or hours.
Keeping It Safe
The lineman’s primary responsibility is to promote the safety of passengers and crew. In this position, you might be the person who instructs passengers in the use of safety equipment, as smaller planes don't have flight attendants. Routine maintenance -- such as refueling the aircraft, checking and adding oil, adding air to tires or de-icing in winter -- ensures that the aircraft will operate safely. In addition, the lineman moves planes, drives baggage trucks and other vehicles and performs tasks that might place passengers at risk if they are in the area. The lineman must be constantly alert to prevent accidents. A person in this role will also inspect aircraft and must report problems or necessary repairs to the pilot or airport manager.
Customer service is a major component of the lineman’s job, especially in smaller airports. The lineman might arrange for passenger transportation to and from the airport, drive a shuttle, load and unload luggage, serve meals or arrange for catering. A lineman might also clean the aircraft inside and out. Other duties are related to the operation of the aircraft or airport. Linemen secure parked planes to prevent them from damage and hook them up to electrical power or other services if necessary. Some linemen perform maintenance functions for the airport, such as mowing grass or removing snow from runways. A lineman should keep good work records, especially as it relates to aircraft maintenance and servicing.
Linemen are typically young people with an interest in aviation, according to the AVJobs web site. A high school diploma or GED is the typical educational requirement, although some organizations might not require formal education if the applicant has basic math and reading skills and fluency in English. Mechanical skills can be beneficial, as much of the work requires the use of equipment. Most organizations require the lineman to pass a physical examination and perform routine drug screening. A driver’s license is usually required as well.
Beth Greenwood is an RN and has been a writer since 2010. She specializes in medical and health topics, as well as career articles about health care professions. Greenwood holds an Associate of Science in nursing from Shasta College.