Name: Eoin O’Toole
Company: Sky Handling Partner
Job title: Lead Agent
What do you do, and how did you get here?
I started as an Aircraft Service Agent (ASA) back in 2014. Soon after an opportunity arose to progress into the role of LA1 where you are responsible for larger aircraft. After nine months service as a Toilet Servicing Agent (TSA) I moved back into the ASA function to build up my experience and training so I could apply for the position of LA2. As an ASA I got trained up on headsets, marshalling, loaders, and water services. I was successful to take up the LA2 role and after 11 months in this position, I applied to become LA1. I am now an LA1 and I intend to keep climbing the career ladder!
There are many internal career opportunities and once you concentrate on keeping a good record such as your time keeping and attendance you can progress within Sky Handling Partner.
How do you spend your day?
Each day I clock in and prepare myself for the day. I then report to the Ramp Controller and get the details of all my flights for the day. Once I have this information, I gather my crew and advise them on the upcoming flights and the duties they need to carry out. I ensure my crew are fully equipped and that they keep an eye on the flight screen which will provide updates relevant to the turnaround of the aircraft.
I am out on the stand for the duration of the flight, I supervise my crew and liaise with the customer to ensure the safe and efficient turnaround of the aircraft. While it is important to work in an efficient and organised manner to make sure the departure is on time, safety is paramount to ensure there are no accidents. Once all the bags are loaded I cross-check the number of bags with the number of passengers and I make sure the bags are loaded in the correct positions. Once I carry out this check I sign the paperwork and speak to the dispatcher. At this stage, the aircraft will be closed up and I can release some of my crew, who then remove the equipment from the stand and report to the break room for their next flight. I stay on the stand with the headset man to conduct the push back. Once the flight has been pushed out I radio the Ramp Controller to see if I can go straight to my next flight instead of going to the break room. The process then starts again and the day flies by!
What’s the best part of your job?
The best part of the role is the camaraderie, particularly during downtime, it’s a good laugh in the break room. It is great when the weather is good during the summer as it adds to the craic. I enjoy the variety the role has to offer from paperwork to hands-on manual work. It is a very fast-paced environment to work in.
What’s the hardest part of your job?
Sometimes the pressure makes the role hard, particularly when a flight was delayed it has a knock-on effect. Similarly, if a member of your crew is out due to unforeseen circumstances this can add to the pressure. The turnaround of an aircraft can range from 30 to 40 minutes so you are constantly keeping an eye on the time. Once the plane is loaded and the passengers are getting on, you know you’re ok. If you haven’t loaded the plane and the passengers are still getting on, you know you’re in trouble. There are often last minute changes which can be stressful.
What traits are ‘must haves’ to do your job well?
You need to be organised and have excellent time keeping. You can’t arrive at the stand 5 minutes before an aircraft is due to land. You need to be there 30 minutes beforehand to ensure you have all the equipment ready. It is really important to be prepared and proactive. It is also important to earn the respect from your team members and help your crew whenever you can. At times you need to use your initiative.
You need to be safety conscious at all times and enjoy manual work as well as shift work.
Any advice for people applying for a job like yours?
If you are ever unsure of anything, always ask! Keep the head down and try to be as proactive as possible. Get as much training as you can as to have a better appreciation of all the functions. You need to enjoy a fast-paced, high-pressure environment and be ready to do manual work.
What’s your ultimate goal in your career?
I want to progress as far as possible and keep climbing the career ladder!
How do you unwind after work?
I normally work late hours so I often have time in the morning to go to the gym and do other activities. In the evening I like to watch TV programmes.