What are the standard ground needs of a modern double-decker airline. How many crew members load and offload luggage on a modern double-decker airliner on any typical trip?

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    $\begingroup$ Surely, this will vary according to the policies and staff availability of the ground handling company. $\endgroup$ Apr 2, 2018 at 16:22
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    $\begingroup$ Rephrasing it as "what are the standard ground needs of a modern double-decker airline" would make it fit the guidelines and lead to more interesting answers. How many people and how much coordination are needed to turn around a massive aircraft always impressed me. $\endgroup$ Apr 3, 2018 at 6:47
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    $\begingroup$ @Caterpillaraoz - your wording is nice, but IMO the question is not off-topic. $\endgroup$
    – user14897
    Apr 3, 2018 at 7:21
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    $\begingroup$ @ymb1 i 100% agree with you about not being off topic but some people have a stricter interpretation of the rules that we do so before this good question gets killed I went looking for a fix :-) $\endgroup$ Apr 3, 2018 at 7:35
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    $\begingroup$ @CGCampbell True for the flight crew, perhaps. But there might be ground crew that does... $\endgroup$
    – user
    Apr 3, 2018 at 18:19

1 Answer 1


The Airbus Airport and Maintenance Planning documents note that:

Actual times may vary due to each operator's specific practices, resources, equipment and operating conditions.

That being said, if everything is going smoothly, typically it's 2-3 operators per door.

One of the differences between an A380 and say a 767 is the number and size of containers. The rest is mostly the same. Below is a breakdown from a paper on the A320:

The first operators' categorization that we had done was simple: belt loaders and cargo loaders, with reference to GSE. Usually, this is how airlines categorize their operators. Moreover, this categorization has a standard number of operators needed per GSE depending on its positioning:

  • 2 operators per Cargo Loader for the main cargo compartment;
  • 3 operators per Belt Loader for the main cargo compartment;
  • 2 operators per Belt Loader for the bulk compartment.

However, this categorization is far too simple because there are more people than cargo and belt loaders involved in the cargo handling, for example tractor drivers and container loaders at the airport terminal. For this reason, Airbus ground handling operator's categorization has been used. This categorization divides the operators in:

  • Semiskilled: loaders and cleaners.
  • Skilled: bus drivers, refuelling staff, in general all equipment drivers.
  • Highly skilled: boarding bridge operators, ramp agent, push-back operator.


As you can see from that paper, it's not just the number of operators at each door, it's a big system, combined with different hiring practices and different operators' methods, there is no one answer.

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Above shows an A380 schedule for a 90-minute turnaround since you seem interested in streamlining this process. Note the refueling start/finish and check this post. Passengers are typically boarded after the refueling is finished, otherwise it's a hassle that even includes alerting the fire service to be on standby.

Loading the cargo/passengers more quickly won't solve the A380 problems you asked about in recent posts.


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