• Marshalls at the airport:

    Who are they? What do they do and why are they so important?

Airport marshalls or marshallers, are mobility agents in charge of guiding airplanes towards their parking slots. As an aircraft arrives at the airport it must generally move along different roads before reaching its allocated place and this can be an arduous task in some of the bigger airports.

Additionally, once an aircraft arrives at the parking area, marshallers are in charge of giving pilots the directions needed for the correct parking of the airplane and do so through the use of bats or light wands. This is essential since pilots cannot see what is directly underneath the cabin.

Marshallers do much more than just park aircraft, though… Do you want to know more about this? Please carry on reading, as today, we bring you a very interesting post.

Aircraft marshallers’ tasks

As well as the main duty of guiding aircraft to their parking spaces, marshallers carry out many other functions within airports, such as the following:

  • Undertaking inspections of runways in search of possible FOD, or foreign object debris, that could undermine operational safety, they drive from header to header in their striking yellow cars.
  • Ensuring the correct functioning of facilities as well as that of the terminal, its accesses and parking areas.
  • Dealing with technical assistance subcontracts and making sure safety operational standards are met.

And they also have to coordinate and liaise with the rest of professionals working alongside them at the airport at every stage, such as law enforcement and security forces, handlings, airline personnel, etc.

Did you know…?

Marshallers at airports have to adapt their work to the different aircraft

Marshallers´ work is continually changing as no operation is the same as the previous one. Each aircraft manages different safety distances and adapts to their size or also, the type of parking that will be done: remote or jetway.

In remote parking (when passengers board directly from the runway by use of airstairs) there is more room for error when indicating the parking of airplanes.

However, with air bridge parking, the parking must be almost to the millimetre as it would otherwise be impossible to connect both structures. The space between adjacent air bridges must also be taken into account as it is so limited that a misjudgement in manoeuvring could end up damaging the airplane or air bridges’ structures.

What are airport marshaller’s cars like?

Within the workers of the airport, marshallers are easily identified as they drive a yellow car with “follow me” inscripted on it. Of course, yellow is chosen to facilitate visibility in all weather conditions but specially, on days with poor meteorology.

But are all marshaller’s cars the same? Not at all! Some marshallers drive Porsches or even Lamborghinis… How about that?

At the Guglielmo Marconi airport in Bologna, they have Lamborghinis as “follow me” cars. The car manufacturer has its main office in Bologna and has come to an agreement with the airport so that from 2013 the cars used by marshallers are Lamborghinis.

Another similar case is at the airport of Hannover in Germany, which has a flamboyant checkered black and yellow Porsche.