Fresh research for 2017 has demonstrated that airports are among the most active workplaces in the country, rivalling postal routes, construction sites and farms.
Chiefs at London City Airport interviewed staff in a variety of roles, including cabin crew, terminal managers and the on-site fire service, surveying the equipment they use and distance travelled on foot using pedometers.
“We knew the London City Airport team worked hard, but even we were surprised to find they are Olympic-level walkers, champion weightlifters, and do enough bicep curls to make any gym-goer sweat – every day,” said a spokesman when analysing the findings.
With up to 300 flights arriving and departing every day, baggage handlers have an important role to play in order to maintain flight turnaround times.
On average they process in excess of seven tonnes of hold luggage each day – more than one tonne greater in weight than an African elephant. It is airport managers who clock up the greatest mileage on foot – an impressive 9.1miles on average for each shift in and around the 18,000sqm passenger terminal, which is equivalent to 37 laps of an Olympic race track. Even at an altitude of 40,000ft cabin crew staff manage to clock an average of three miles during a one-and-a-half hour flight.
Back on the ground, aircraft marshallers, who work on the airfield come rain or shine, direct up to 20 flights during a shift using an array of different arm signals, meaning that not only do they walk on average five miles, but do 160 ‘bicep curls’ with their batons. Lifting some of the heaviest equipment is the on-site fire brigade, who train in 300-degree heat and wear 10kg uniforms, sometimes training with 12kg of breathing apparatus and 16kg fire hoses.