For an aircraft operator involved in commercial air transport, ground operations is the aspect of the airline that deals with the airport handling procedures ensuring passengers, cargo mail, etc are safely on board the aircraft prior to departure. All commercial operations including airlines, executive jet and helicopter companies have a Ground Operations Department.
This department covers the ground handling activities which include passenger, baggage and cargo handling, aircraft loading and handling, mass and balance, ULD/ baggage preparation for loading, ground support equipment, pushback and headset, de-icing, staff training, etc. The IAA licence the operator under the Airline Operators Certificate (AOC) and the Commission for Aviation Regulation (CAR) licence the airlines/ground handling companies to undertake the functions of ground operations at airports (Self-handling/Third party Handling).
The IAA's Ground Operations Inspector monitors the safety standards of commercial air transport operators and their handling agents in relation to ground operations functions and in accordance with regulatory requirements.