Kaiuta/Kaihoroi Waka Rererangi
This job is sometimes referred to by alternative titles
Aircraft loaders load and unload aircraft, and transfer freight and baggage between airport buildings and aircraft.
Aircraft loaders usually earn
$16-$25 per hour
Pay for aircraft loaders varies depending on experience.
- Aircraft loaders usually start on minimum wage to $18 an hour.
- After two to three years' experience, aircraft loaders can earn between $17 to $20.
- Senior aircraft loaders or team leaders can earn from $22 to $25.
Many aircraft loaders work casual or part-time hours.
- PAYE.net.nz website - use this calculator to convert pay and salary information
- Employment New Zealand website – information about minimum wage rates
(This information is a guide only. Find out more about the figures and diagrams in our job information)
What you will do
Aircraft loaders may do some or all of the following:
- drive baggage and freight between planes and airport terminals or cargo buildings
- load and unload aircraft
- operate equipment such as cargo and belt loaders, lift trucks, ramp tractors and loading systems
- help position loading ramps, passenger ramps and other equipment
- help guide planes into their berth and secure the aircraft
- drive tugs - vehicles used to push or pull planes into position on the runway or tarmac.
Skills and knowledge
Aircraft loaders need to have:
- knowledge of baggage and freight handling, as well as stacking and lifting techniques
- knowledge of how to handle dangerous goods
- an understanding of airport regulations and procedures, and safety and emergency procedures
- driving skills for operating specialist vehicles such as aircraft tugs used for moving aircraft.
- usually work shifts, including weekends or evenings, and may work casually, part-time or full-time.
- spend most of their time outside on the tarmac, in aircraft cabins and baggage holds, and baggage sorting rooms
- work in most weather conditions and in conditions that may contain engine fumes, and can be noisy at times.
What's the job really like?
Richard Jones's career has swerved between planes, trains and automobiles. While currently working as an aircraft loader, his CV also contains locomotive engineer and courier driver. He only intended to be a loader for a short time, but he now has six years up his sleeve and no intention of leaving.
What do you like about this work?
You get travel perks, the money's reasonable and it's low stress. I also love being outside - on a nice sunny day, when you are in your shorts in the sun, it's great."
What's the biggest challenge?
"Physically it's challenging. You get injuries and they are hard to heal. Muscle tears in our shoulders are common because we're lifting above our shoulders. But that's the nature of the work, so you just have to try and keep on top of it.
"We have to work as a team, as things can get really busy and we have to depend on each other to get things done. Everybody has to know what they're doing."
To work as an aircraft loader you need to:
- pass a medical test
- be a New Zealand resident
- gain airport security clearance
- have a current New Zealand driver's licence.
There are no secondary education requirements but maths and English are an advantage.
Aircraft loaders need to be:
- responsible and careful
- able to work quickly and efficiently, with good time management
- logical and practical
- able to work to deadlines
- able to work well as part of a team
- good at basic maths.
Useful experience for aircraft loaders includes:
- work with heavy machinery and vehicles
- labouring work
- warehouse work
- any work that involves heavy lifting.
Aircraft loaders need to be reasonably fit and strong, with strong backs and good stamina, as heavy lifting is required. They also need to be able to bend, stoop and work within tight spaces.
Find out more about training
- 0800 863 693 - www.serviceiq.org.nz
What are the chances of getting a job?
Opportunities to work as an aircraft loader are only available where there are regional or international airports; aircraft loaders are usually not employed at smaller airports. Opportunities are typically best at Auckland International Airport due to the high volume of domestic and international flights processed through the airport.
Casual and part-time work can lead to full-time jobs for aircraft loaders
Many aircraft loaders get into the job after doing casual or part-time baggage handling. Casual or part-time positions are available throughout the year, though summer can be a good time to apply as airlines are usually busier at this time of year.
Most aircraft loaders work for one of two companies
Aircraft loaders either work directly for Air New Zealand, or for companies that supply contractors to airlines.
The largest of these companies is Menzies Aviation, which supplies aircraft loaders to many other airlines.
- Helen Williams, manager, Menzies Aviation, Careers New Zealand interview, July 2012.
- Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, '2003-2012 Occupation Data' (prepared for Careers New Zealand), 2012.
Progression and specialisations
Aircraft loaders can progress to work as team leaders. They may also move into managerial roles.
Last updated 19 August 2017