Different industries coming together to get your flight ready on time.

Ever wonder how a plane is gotten ready for a flight from the moment it arrives to departure? Someone once told me it’s like magic that the plane is always neat and ready for flight just like that. Well, what he did not know then was that a lot of people work tirelessly to get that plane as ready as possible for you to have that dream flight of yours. If you look outside either from the boarding gate or from the aircraft window while boarding or disembarking you will see numerous vehicles going back and forth and around the aircraft. Different industries work in unison like clock work from the moment the aircraft reaches the ramp till its pushed back off the ramp ready for its next flight. Let me run you the very basic of them. These are the ones directly involved with the aircraft on the ramp/gate. More industries come into play if we look at the whole airport.

As soon as the aircraft is made ready for handling on the ramp, offloading of baggage commences, followed by inspection of the cargo hold and loading of baggage for the next flight while passengers are disembarking.

Loading and offloading baggage

Once the passengers and crew have all left the aircraft, the cleaning crew goes in emptying all trash holders, cleaning the floors and seats and luggage cabins. They also check for items left behind to be handed over to the lost and found department to be claimed by owners later. In other cases the airline crew comes in to restock such items as passenger emergency guides and equipment, inflight magazines and entertainment equipment as well as passenger sleeping and refreshing packs for long hauls flights.

Cabin cleaning.

Like clockwork, old food supplies and waste is offloaded and new food and beverages are loaded onto the food carts and stored in the designated galleys in the aircraft. Utmost care is taken while performing these tasks and food carts are carefully and tightly sealed and will only be opened when food time arrives.

Offloading and loading of food and beverages.

While all that is happening, on a different part of the aircraft sewage removal and water refilling is also taking place, this normally happens at the back of the aircraft. On average there is a toilet for every 24 passengers on a long haul aircraft, the number depends on aircraft preference. Just like all else utmost care is taken when performing these tasks. Water and sewage systems are independent of each other for obvious health and hygiene reasons. The people who do these jobs get constant vaccinations against different kinds of diseases as they come into contact with all sorts of waste while performing their duties.

Out with the bad, in with the good
The waste suction hose connected to the lavatory service outlet on the underbelly.

Fuelling also takes place and this normally happens under the wings (wings are also the aircraft’s wings and feed into the rest of the aircraft’s tanks. Fuel is loaded according to the airlines requirements for the flight.

Refuelling of the aircraft.

Once the internal jobs are done, the crew takeover the aircraft and do their own checks. The flight crew takeover the cockpit and also do a physical check of the aircraft by walking around its body/fuselage inspecting for any damage. The attendants takeover the cabin. When they are satisfied passengers can now board  the aircraft with the assistance of the crew. As the passengers are boarding all the outside activities would be winding up, normally baggage loading is the last to finish.

Passengers boarding the aircraft.

When everyone is done, all doors and seals are secured and the flight dispatcher makes sure the aircraft is safe to push back and alerts the flight crew. The flight crew are effectively in charge and request push back clearance from ATC and from then on, you are on your way.

Aircraft about to be pushed back.

As you enjoy your flight, take time to acknowledge the people who make your flight safe and possible. Thank the attendants as you leave the aircraft, take selfies and share with us lol.

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AviaConnect (M B Dube)


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