Ramp marshals: Those men waving orange batons at airports

Published April 29, 2018, 12:05 AM

by Mario Casayuran and Vanne Elaine Terrazola

By Franco G. Regala

ON THE GROUND  — Ramp marshal Pedrito Canlas executes hand signals to guide an aircraft safely to a parking ramp at Clark International Airport. (Franco G. Regala)
ON THE GROUND — Ramp marshal Pedrito Canlas executes hand signals to guide an aircraft safely to a parking ramp at Clark International Airport. (Franco G. Regala)

Who are those men in reflectorized vests and orange batons at the airport ramps who appear to be guiding aircrafts to a parking spot?

What is it exactly that they do?

Welcome to the world of airport ramp marshals.

“Our main task is the safety of aircraft and passengers. We handle ground operations, we oversee the airport movement area, from the runway, inspection area.  We raise alerts when there are runway problems,” said Pedrito Canlas, 55, who has been with Clark International Airport Corporation (CIAC) since 1996.

Ramp marshals communicate with pilots and guides an aircraft to a safer, designated parking ramp upon arrival or exit the same prior to takeoff.

He is there to provide pilots another set of eyes on the ground for safe aircraft movement.

“You need to have absolute presence of mind of you are a ramp personnel,  you need to have quick reflexes, because one small mistake could be disastrous,” Canlas said.

He said that when a ramp is crowded and several aircraft are making tight turns to fit into a parking spot, the risk for possible accident is high without a ramp marshal.

 
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