Ground air traffic coordinators are some of the most distinctive airport employees. Dressed in yellow, moving in a yellow car with a Follow Me sign,they can stop even the largest aircraft on the tarmac with a single gesture. They are called ‘marshallers’, meaning ‘signallers’.
Marshallers are the staff responsible for directing and escorting aircrafts within the airport.Their main task is to ensure that planes move safely around the apron area, arriving at their correct staging site and through designated taxiways to leave the apron on their route to the runway. They also take care of the safety of pedestrians and other airside users. Together with Air Traffic Controllers and Port Duty Officers, they form the core of the Apron Management Service.
The marshallers use a sequence of signs to communicate with the pilot, giving commands such as: ‘move forward’, ‘slow down’, ‘stop’ or ‘turn off the engine’. They use so-called manoeuvring signals for this purpose. There are approx. 30, and they are standardised so that any crew arriving at any airport is aware of the content of the information
Ground traffic coordinators use Follow Me vehicles, equipped with flashing lights, lights transmitting messages to crews e.g.: STOP, TURN LEFT, as well as devices for communication with air traffic control and other airport operational services. The vehicles are also equipped with a radio frequency scanner for listening to correspondence.
The Ground Air Traffic Co-ordinators section at the Kraków Airport is part of the Port’s Operations Department. There are 19 Marshallers working at the Kraków Airport. They provide round-the-clock security for flight operations, being on duty with a staff of four during the day and three at night. This makes it possible to handle up to several
dozen aircrafts a day.
To become a ground traffic coordinator, you need to demonstrate analytical thinking and spatial vision skills, the ability to react to dynamically changing traffic situations, and to undergo specialised training at a certified airport services training centre.