Aircraft Loader Kaiuta/Kaihoroi Waka Rererangi

Aircraft loaders load and unload aircraft, and transfer freight and baggage between airport buildings and aircraft.

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 aircraft tugs, which push or pull planes into position on the runway or tarmac.

Physical Requirements

Aircraft loaders need to be reasonably fit and strong, with strong backs and good stamina, because they need to lift heavy items. They also need to be able to bend, stoop and work in tight spaces.

Useful Experience

Useful experience for aircraft loaders includes:

  • work at an airport
  • work with heavy machinery and vehicles
  • labouring
  • warehouse work
  • work in a team
  • any work involving heavy lifting.

Personal Qualities

Aircraft loaders need to be:

  • quick-thinking and able to make good judgements
  • able to work well under pressure
  • accurate, methodical and patient in their work
  • able to work well independently and in a team
  • safety-conscious
  • good communicators.


Aircraft loaders need to have:

  • knowledge of baggage and freight handling, as well as stacking and lifting techniques
  • knowledge of how to handle hazardous goods
  • an understanding of airport regulations and procedures, and safety and emergency procedures
  • driving skills for operating specialist vehicles such as aircraft tugs.


Aircraft loaders:

  • 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 types of weather, and in conditions that may be fumy and noisy.

Aircraft Loaders can earn around $23-$29 per hour.

Pay for aircraft loaders varies depending on experience.

  • Aircraft loaders start on about $23 an hour.
  • Senior aircraft loaders or team leaders can earn $25 to $29 an hour.

Many aircraft loaders work part-time hours.

Source: Air New Zealand, 2018.

Aircraft loaders may progress to work as team leaders or managers.

Years Of Training

There are no specific requirements to become an aircraft loader. However, a New Zealand Certificate in Aviation (Ground Handling) may be useful.

A New Zealand driver's licence is usually needed. 

Aircraft Loader