Hitting back against the race to the bottom

Why GHI has launched these new awards

GHI has launched an all-new Pride of Ground Handling Awards to showcase service excellence, innovation and the people who make it happen – in a bid to hit back against the myth that ground handling is simply a race to the bottom on price

We need your help to showcase stations that go the extra mile to deliver added value services to airline customers. We also want to hear about the men and women who exemplify a commitment to quality, safety, teamwork and innovation on the apron.

GHI has launched the new awards following sustained reports of contract price pressure on ground handlers across the globe. Average price per turnaround has plummeted to as low as €100 at one European airport, GHI reported at our 19th Annual in Barcelona last November. “GHI’s Pride of Handling Awards are designed to be the antidote to the damaging race to the bottom on price,” says Max Gosney, Content Director at GHI. “We want to shift the emphasis to service quality, innovation and value add, by showcasing the ground handlers and their employees who are passionate about delivering world-class services and exceeding airline expectations.”

Promoting careers in ground handling

Another central aim of the Pride of Handling awards is to promote ground handling as a rewarding career choice. The sector is faced with a dearth of quality candidates despite major airport expansions planned from Heathrow to Belo Horizonte. More than 50% of ground service providers said reported chronic skills shortages in a recent GHI Skills Survey.  

“It’s a common lament that the public only ever hear about ground handling when luggage is lost or industrial action looms,” explains Gosney. “And yet, this sector is at the heart of the aviation supply chain and offers some varied and exciting career opportunities. Where else could also have the chance to get hands on with a £300m aircraft? Many of our top directors and senior managers started out on the ramp or check-in desk. But, who’s going to follow in their footsteps unless we promote our industry?   

How can you get involved?

There are five categories open for entry: Best Station Award, Ramp Safety Award, Handler: Airline Innovation Award, Unsung Hero Award and Rising Star Award.

We urge you to help GHI showcase what’s great about ground handling by logging on to www.ghiawards.com and submitting for one or more of these categories. Please note: Entries are not region specific, we welcome submissions from stations all over the world.

Entry involves completing an online questionnaire, which will ask you to detail how you station/team member has met the qualifying criteria. Our awards judges will be looking for evidence of:

-Quality: how has the entrant set about exceeding the typical customer quality expectations through rigour, commitment and innovation in their service delivery?

-Teamwork/leadership: how has the entrant inspired others or shown the skill to work collaboratively with colleagues and different departments to attain outstanding results?

-Safety: how has the nominee proactively sought to address a safety issue that has delivered tangible benefits or promoted a high safety culture?

-Passion: how does the entrant demonstrate an enthusiasm for ground handling and a love of what they do?

What’s happened to the Ramp Safety Awards?

The Ramp Safety Awards and the principle of celebrating safety excellence have been incorporated into the more expansive Pride of Ground Handling Awards programme. The Ramp Safety Awards is now a dedicated award category. Safety excellence will also be assessed as part of the entry criteria for the other four award categories to reflect its fundamental importance in all ground handling operations.

All qualifying entries will be judged by an independent panel of aviation industry experts- comprising airlines, handlers, airports and industry bodies. Our inaugural Pride of Ground Handling winners will be announced at a glittering awards ceremony at GHI’s 20th Annual Conference in Gothenburg on 27 November.

So, if you believe that ground handling is much more than a race to the bottom on price.

If you are proud of your station teams and their achievements.

Or if you love working in the industry and want to inspire the next generation of operatives, team leaders and station managers….

GHI wants to hear from you!




1)Help us hit back against the race to the bottom:  we’re looking to celebrate ground services that have delivered dynamic improvements in service quality, safety and in a partnership-based approach with airlines. We want you to hear about enlightened SLAs which have focussed on value added and not just price.

2)Celebrate your talented teams and individuals: recognise the everyday heroes at your station who show a passion for performing the perfect turn.

3)Combat Skills Shortages: by shining a light on the expertise and endeavour shown by ground handlers and their teams we aim to promote the industry as a rewarding career choice for young people. The sector is faced with chronic skills shortages in Europe and Asia according to GHI research.  

4)Calling all airlines – recognise your star ground handlers: is there a GSP who has impressed you with their innovative approach to developing SLAs? Can you always count on certain stations to supercharge your KPI scores? Yes? Then help us acknowledge their achievements by nominating them for the Best Station or Handler:Airline Innovation category awards.

5)Calling all Handlers: promote your stations as the home of world-class: enter our awards and you will have the opportunity to promote your stations to airlines and airports as the home of world-class service levels, safety standards and employee excellence.