There’s a Place for You Here – Part 1 final.

by Egi Gaisie

This ends our conversation with Madam Gloria Wilkinson Mensah on careers in aviation.

Just some few historical findings on careers in aviation.

1980s – 1990s

Air travel was becoming more popular and more families were starting to travel due to more airlines setting up and lower fares and the wealthy businessman could no longer be exclusively marketed to. In the 1980s and 1990s, more males were becoming flight attendants than ever before allowing for more equality although at the time it was estimated only an average of 20% were male. In the late 1990s rules for a flight attendant’s weight were finally phased out although in the UK, female flight attendants still had to retire early by the age of 55. During this time flight attendants became ‘cabin crew’ in the UK and some parts of Europe respecting that the role had changed, and recognizing that the role was not entirely service-based. In 1990, the then US President Bush announced there would be a Flight Attendant Safety Professionals Day on July 19th, to appreciate the work of flight attendants and their contribution to the industry.

Host: Personnel performingground services’ are known as Operation Agents and/or Ramp Agents. Ground services involves loading and unloading baggage, operating luggage carts, guiding planes during departure and arrival from their gates, performing other important airplane serving tasks. These services (loading and unloading of heavy luggage, heavy equipment etc.) are quite hectic and risky. Personnel performing these tasks often work outdoors and in all types of weather. Their role ensures the safety and comfort of passengers and prepares planes for safe flight.

Guest: Yes, and the following are job titles performing services under ground operations:

  • Departure Control Agents i.e. Uniformed Check in Attendants.
  • Aircraft Weight and Balance Planning and Control Agents
  • Ramp Equipment Operators (Aircraft Belt Loaders,
  • Passenger Ambulift and Aerobridge Operators and Baggage Services Agents.               

Host: I’m going to be selective now. Guide us into the requirements in pursuing the following occupations?

  • Aircraft Maintenance Engineering.
  • Airline Commercial training in Sales & Marketing.
  • Data Mining / Business Intelligence Analyst.
  • Air Traffic Control.
  • Route Network Planning.


  • Aircraft Maintenance Engineering. A degree in Aeronautical Engineering or Science background with training from an Approved Maintenance Training Organization for abinitio or type rating programs.
  • Airline Commercial training in Sales & Marketing. A general University Degree and IATA Professional Modules designed to build capacity in the faculty.
  • Data Mining / Business Intelligence Analyst. A general University Degree preferably in Statistics. Proficiency in business systems software application will be an advantage.
  • Air Traffic Control. A degree in sciences and aptitude for navigational systems and software application is desirable.
  • Route Network Planning. A general University Degree preferably in Business/ Tourism and IATA Professional Modules for Network Planning.

Host: This is quite revealing. Thank you. How competitive is it, getting these jobs?

Guest: Highly competitive because one needs to have skill and certification e.g. Aircraft Maintenance Engineering and Air Traffic Control. Whereas with General University Degree and Professional training, one could build capacity and adapt to work in the other faculties.

It must be stated that National Carriers are often the biggest employer in Commercial Aviation in most Geographies .The presence of a sizeable number of Locally Registered Airline Operators also offer significant employment opportunities.

 Host: Talking about National Carriers/airlines, Ghana used to have Ghana Airways and then Ghana Airlines Ltd but currently we only have locally registered airline operators. How do they usually recruit their personnel?

Guest: Professional HR Agencies mostly handle recruitment processes or job opportunities are advertised on Airline’s website. One may also follow the Social Media Handles of Airlines and especially LinkedIn, to track job opportunities.

Host: Thank you for these leads! Are most aviation jobs seasonal/casual or they are permanent?

Guest: Most jobs are permanent with some running on shift basis.

Host: Where does one pursue specific training towards becoming certified for some of these occupations?

Guest: Air Traffic Control – ATNS Aviation Training Academy in South Africa, Madrid, Spain, North Malmo, Sweden.

Host: Which of these occupations require a general University Degree and professional training?

Guest: Airline Commercial Sales and Marketing, Route Network Planning and scheduling and Data mining and Business Intelligence Analysts.

Host: In our days we used to hear a lot about Ghana Airways Training school. Do you know of any of our technical universities offering any of these specialist courses?

Guest: KNUST offers Bachelor of Science Degree in Aerospace Engineering, however, International Air Transport Association (IATA) is the accredited body offering Diplomas in most of these specialist courses. The Ghana Civil Aviation Training Academy (GATA) runs accredited training programs in partnership with IATA.

Host: Good to know. Can one ‘join’ the sector (aviation industry) at any stage of one’s career?

Guest: It’s recommended to join at an early stage of one’s working life to afford the time needed for professional training and development.

Host: Assuming you choose to become a flight attendant, what are the growth opportunities?

Guest: The growth path starts from an entry point of Flight Attendant progressing to Flight Purser through to Senior Flight Purser and Inflight Service Manager Onboard.

Flight Attendants may also work on ground as administrators for scheduling Crew for flights and recurrent trainers.

Host: What aviation careers are best for women?

Guest: It depends. Cabin or flight deck crew involves consistent flying around and spending less time with family; it could become a potential source of concern or neglect especially for women. I believe smart women can build capacity in most of the areas, given the opportunity.

Host: Thank you so much! It’s been refreshing (reminding me of the past and the impact of the training we offered those days and of my childhood memories about airplanes and airports); it’s been enlightening, broadening our minds on career possibilities in aviation and to borrow a few of the comments I’ve received about this conversation, ‘insightful’, ‘very interesting’, and ‘awesome’.

Look out for the next post in a two weeks.

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