​​Ground handling is an integral part of airline operations. IATA strives to lead the industry towards improved safety and operational efficiency in ground handling by setting standards, initiating and encouraging the implementation of global solutions.

COVID-19: Please refer to the instructions below on how Ground Handling should be operated during the COVID-19 outbreak. 

In an effort to support the industry, IATA together with the Medical Advisory Group (MAG), has compiled a reference guide for Ground Handling including guidelines and updates for ground handling during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Download the Quick Reference for Ground Handling during COVID-19 (pdf)

Last updated: 24 March 2020.

What you will find in this document:

  • Passenger Check-in, Transfer, and Gate Handling
  • Baggage and Cargo Handling

         - Handling Cargo from Affected Countries

  • Ramp Handling
  • Aircraft Cleaning
  • Catering Handling
  • GSE Long Term Storage Procedures

         - Preparation

         - During Storage

         - Fleet Management Systems and Data

         - Getting Back Up and Running

Download now the Quick Reference for Ground Handling during COVID-19 (pdf) 


IATA resource on COVID-19




Integrated Solutions for Ground Operations

Ground operations damage costs the industry billions of dollars every year. To combat this, the following initiatives ​have been developed as an integrated solution for ground operations​​ (pdf) tailored ​to​ risk management within our industry:​

​Airport Handling Manual (AHM)​
Identification of, and updates to, industry recommended practices

IATA Ground Operations Manual (IGOM)
Development and implementation of the standard procedures

IATA Safety Audit for Ground Operations (ISAGO)
On-site verification of implementation of ground handling procedures

Ground Damage Database (GDDB)
Hazard identification, including data analysis and feedback

IGOM Adoption

To relay theIGOM Adoption Policy (pdf) to the industry, IATA has developed an IGOM Adoption Awareness session of two videos to assist the industry in IGOM implementation.


IATA is in favor of the establishment of standardized performance-based procedures for ground handling operations supporting the industry based on ensuring ground handling activities are safely, efficiently and consistently accomplished.

The target audience for the IGOM Adoption Awareness session are policy makers for ground operations including personnel who develop and document policies, procedures and processes for ground handling operations for airlines, ground service providers and airport authorities.

IATA Ground Handling Conference (IGHC)

The IATA Ground Handling​ Conference​ is the industry ​premier event bringing together each link of the entire Ground Handling Value Chain to shape the Ground Handling environment for the future. This event offers unique opportunity to connect, communicate and collaborate with Airlines, Ground Service Providers, Airport Authorities and Suppliers and offers various business and networking opportunities.

​Airport Handling Manual (AHM)


The AHM is the only industry approved standard for safe and efficient airport operations, and serves as a reference for the latest ground handling policies and safety guidelines. In other words: the AHM is the “what to do” when it comes to ground operations.

The AHM provides guidelines and recommended practices covering entire airport operations, such as Passenger Handling, Baggage Handling, Cargo & Mail Handling, Aircraft Handling, Loading, Load Control, Airside Management & Safety, Aircraft Movement Control, Ground Handling Agreements, Airport Handling Ground Support Equipment Specifications and Environmental Specifications for Ground Handling Operations.

The AHM has been developed by various working ​groups, technical sub-groups and specialists, setting the most practical and economical standards which airlines, ground handling companies and airports are recommended to follow.

The AHM is published ​as Attachment A of the Passenger Services Conference Recommended Practice 1690. The AHM is approved by Ground Operations Groups (GOG) following delegations by the Airport Service Committee (ASC). GOG is under the remit of Operations Committee (OPC). You can purchase your AHM copy in our online store​.

Any proposal to make a change in the AHM can be submitted via the online form at AHM Change Request. For more information, please contact IATA at groundops@iata.org

​IATA Ground Operations Manual (IGOM)

The IGOM has been developed as the single industry manual for ground operations. The IGOM contains ground handling procedures for airlines and ground service providers, providing instructions for frontline personnel. In other words IGOM sets out “how to do” the job.

IGOM procedures reflect the minimum standards as identified by the aviation industry with the goal of establishing:

  • Global standardization of ground handling policies & procedures
  • A common minimum level of safety
  • Policies & procedures as guidance by which ISAGO can audit
The IGOM is mainly developed by the IGOM Technical Group in collaboration with various working groups, technical sub-groups and specialists within IATA's governance.
The IGOM is published ​as Attachment B of the Passenger Services Conference Recommended Practice 1690. The IGOM Is approved by Ground Operations Group (GOG) working under the remit of Operations Committee (OPC). ​You can purchase your IGOM copy in our online store. ​
Any change request or state variations can be submitted via the online form at IGOM Change Request and IGOM State Variations. Please contact IATA at groundops@iata.org​​

IGOM Implementation

IATA aims to increase the number of airlines and GSPs using IGOM as the basis for their ground operations. IATA’s Board of Governors decided to make IGOM Implementation a Board Monitored Activity for 2015 and 2016, with at least 50% of IATA Members to Start/Complete IGOM Implementation as their minimum standard for ground operations by end of 2016. The way forward, starting in 2017, is to develop a common strategy for IGOM-ISAGO implementation in order to link and bring benefits from both programs to our industry.
To support this goal, IATA has developed the IGOM Implementation Toolkit ​(zip). The implementation process is explained in the toolkit, and practical examples of how implementation can be achieved are provided. Training​ for IGOM Implementation is also available.

Companies who were able to demonstrate full compliance with the IGOM procedures are displayed in the IGOM Registry.

Load Control XML Toolkit​ (LCXML)

In line with other IATA industry solutions, a number of XML (eXtended Markup Language) messages from the Load Control sector have been developed to define a best practice approach, which can be applied throughout the industry.

The XML standard will fulfil needs for standardization across the industry - a need not currently met by current industry standards, offering the flexibility to use the same messages across different applications.

XML messages are compatible with other industry standards such as the International Standards Organization (ISO), Aeronautical Radio, Incorporated (ARINC). By implementing XML messages an organization will benefit from the following aspects:

  • Reduced cost of message development, transmission, maintenance and support
  • Facilitation of direct exchange of data
  • Ease of implementation
  • Quicker response to changing requirements
  • Universally used and accepted standard

Development does not force companies to upgrade to XML but allows the transition from legacy technology to more open standards when ready to do so.

You can purchase your copy of the Load Control XML Toolkit in the store.

Any changes or suggestions regarding the Load Control XML schemas can be submitted online using this Online Change Request Form

IATA Ground Handling Partnership (GHP)

​The IATA Ground Handling Partnership is an industry platform for non-IATA members to

  • Make your company visible and create new business opportunities
  • Forge a network of international contacts to exchange views and experience
  • Influence the future of the air transport industry by assisting in the development and implementation of industry standards and technical solutions by participation in various groups and programs related to Ground Operations

Who can Join ?​​

The GHP is open to non-IATA airlines, airports or other government authorities, ground handling companies who physically perform ground handling services directly as outlined in Annex A of the IATA Standard Ground Handling Agreement.

Join GHP

​​​​​You can apply for GHP membership:

​​For more details, please contact us at ghp@iata.org​​​

Working ​​with stakeholders to set standards

To support mutual cooperation between all stakeholders, IATA works with all airline partners, including ground handlers, airports, service providers, and aircraft manufacturers, as well as standardization bodies and regulators.

IATA actively drives the development of ground handling operations standards and procedures to enhance Safety and Efficiency, promoting global consistency and harmonization among various groups: