Airplane Cargo Loader Job Description, Duties, and Responsibilities

Updated on: July 28, 2023

Job Description

Airplane cargo loaders are hired primarily to ensure that luggage and other cargo are correctly loaded and unloaded to and from the aircraft.

They play a crucial role in ensuring the safe and efficient loading and unloading of cargo on aircraft. They work in airports, cargo terminals, and other transportation hubs.

The primary responsibilities of an airplane cargo loader include:

1. Transporting Cargo:
Handle and transport various types of cargo, including packages, baggage, and freight, from the terminal or storage area to the aircraft, and vice versa.

2. Loading and Unloading:
Use specialized equipment, such as conveyor belts, forklifts, and dollies, to load and unload cargo onto and from aircraft. Ensure proper positioning and weight distribution to maintain the aircraft’s balance.

3. Security Checks:
Conduct security checks on cargo, ensure compliance with safety regulations, and adhere to established procedures for handling hazardous materials.

4. Documentation:
Accurately record and verify information, such as cargo weight, dimensions, and identification numbers, to ensure proper tracking and accountability.

5. Communication:
Collaborate with airline staff, cargo handlers, and ground crew to coordinate cargo operations, relay information, and address any issues or concerns.

Some of the primary work duties that you will be expected to perform in this role include:

Airplane Cargo Loader Duties and Responsibilities

  • Take work orders from supervisors and determine which aircraft have been assigned.
  • Conduct a survey of assigned cargo, including passengers’ luggage to determine the time that will be required to conduct loading or unloading work.
  • Lift and carry all cargo items from dollies to the airplane cargo area and ensure that all items are properly stacked and secured.
  • Unload airplane cargo areas and place retrieved items onto conveyor belts or transport dollies.
  • Operate equipment such as cargo and belt loaders, lift trucks, ramp tractors, and loading systems.
  • Ensure that cargo is distributed/stacked in a manner that maximizes space.
  • Calculate weights for different airplane cargo departments using predefined charts and metrics.
  • Accompany the aircraft as part of the crew to ensure that cargo is kept safe during flights.
  • Determine both the quantity and orientation of assigned cargo items and compute the aircraft’s center of gravity.
  • Create and submit daily reports of cargo handling, loading, and unloading activities.
  • Adhere to safety protocols and guidelines to prevent injuries and ensure a secure work environment.
  • Maintain and upkeep equipment used for cargo handling.
  • Identify and address potential issues or delays in the loading/unloading process.
  • Maintain accurate records and documentation to facilitate efficient cargo tracking and inventory management.
  • Adapt to changing work conditions and operational demands, including working in various weather conditions.
  • Follow airline-specific instructions, Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs), and industry best practices.
  • Inform supervisors of any issues or problems with cargo activities, or any suspicious findings in an immediate manner.


You need to possess some background in handling cargo so that you can do justice to this work. If you have some prior experience in this line of work, you will be considered a great contender to hire at this position.


Usually, a high school diploma or a GED equivalent is sufficient to work in the capacity of a cargo loader. However, different airlines may have their specifications to hire a person in this role.

Skills & Abilities

An airplane cargo loader’s role requires physical stamina, attention to detail, and the ability to work effectively as part of a team. Additionally, adaptability, time-management skills, and a focus on customer service are highly valued in this profession.

Knowledge of freight handling and exceptional insight into stacking and lifting techniques are required explicitly from people aspiring to work as cargo loaders.

A deep understanding of airport legislation and safety procedures and protocols is also necessary if this is the work that you want to do.