Air Transport Planning and Management MSc
Alternative attendance modes for this course
Courses start in September, unless otherwise stated
View course-specific entry requirements
You should normally have a good undergraduate Honours degree or its equivalent (First or Second Class) or, alternatively, evidence of further education and appropriate professional experience. If English is not your first language you will need a minimum IELTS score of 6.5. Applicants without these formal academic qualifications but with professional qualifications or substantial (normally at least three years) relevant work experience in the air transport industry may be considered for the course. Their enrolment will be at the discretion of the Course Leader.
Modules on this course are taught in blocks of five days at a time. This means we can incorporate industry speakers from our professional development programme and also enables part-time students from elsewhere in the UK and Europe to travel efficiently to London several times a year. Students take six taught modules in total (over one year on the full-time course, or two to three years on the block release part-time course) and complete a research dissertation. Email contact and tutorial support is provided between the module blocks along with guest lectures and workshop sessions for full-time students.
The block attendance mode for this course is not compatible with visa restrictions for international students. Therefore, this mode of attendance is not available for international students requiring a visa. The block mode of attendance is still available to UK and EU students. International students can still apply for our full-time course.
This course has been developed to meet the needs of graduates worldwide seeking to gain greater knowledge and experience of the air transport industry, and looking to progress into senior roles in management, operations and commercial planning of airlines, airports, government departments and aviation-related businesses such as aircraft manufacturing, finance and consultancy. It is designed to provide a strong theoretical and analytical basis, coupled with the application of many practical techniques and strategies.
The course builds on the successful series of aviation short courses that have attracted participants from around the globe to the University each year. The Department has a long-established interest in air transport research, consultancy and teaching, having been set up by the renowned aviation academic Professor Rigas Doganis some 40 years ago. The University's association with aviation goes back much further, however, as it was here in the 19th century that Sir George Cayley first demonstrated the principles of flight.
Modules on this course can also be taken as short courses which are not formally assessed. Students who have followed the relevant short course(s) within the last five years may be able to register at a reduced fee to complete the module on an 'assessment only' basis as part of the Master's degree. For more information on these short courses, visit our air transport short courses.
*Students starting the full-time course in January currently complete the course over 15 months including a three month vacation period from July-September.
The following modules are indicative of what you will study on this course. For more details on course structure and modules, and how you will be taught and assessed, see the full course document.
Air Transport Economics
In this module you will examine the structure of the airline industry and the international regulatory regime within which it operates. You will analyse airline costs and revenues, relating them to financial performance, and examine airport economics along with key concepts in airport operations and planning.
Air Transport Forecasting and Market Research
Through this module you will consider methods for analysing air traffic, forecasting the demand for air services and modelling the pattern of future airline operations. Market research techniques are explained, including questionnaire design and interpretation of survey data. You will discuss key sources of secondary data, and assess elasticities of demand. You will also examine the management of capacity in the context of both airport and airline planning, and develop models of passenger choice and airport attractiveness.
Air Transport Management and Operations
In this module you will develop techniques for optimising the airline and airport product. These are based upon strategic management thinking and an understanding of the nature of demand for air travel. This then leads to the detail of scheduling airline operations, choosing the right aircraft, designing appropriate product features and assessing quality of service. Air cargo has differing requirements to passenger traffic and forms a special analysis. An introduction to air traffic management and the use of airspace is included, as well as some insights to human resources management and industrial relations.
This module gives you an opportunity to undertake in-depth research on an air transport topic of your choice, and present analysis, conclusions and recommendations in a written report. It allows you to develop an understanding of all stages of the research process.
Air Transport Policy and Planning
In this module you will consider the wider consequences of air services from economic, social and environmental viewpoints. You will explore topics of economic development, accessibility and connectivity, as well as environmental airport capacity and carbon management. You will examine policy issues to encourage sustainable development, land use planning, and the influence of air cargo operations. You will also evaluate surface access policies and the role that they can play in reducing airport environmental impacts.
Airline Marketing and Business Models
In this module you will examine airline marketing strategies including advertising media and messages, the distribution of the airline product, customer loyalty schemes and brand management. You will develop methods for route development analysis, and discuss the role of airline alliances to network carriers. You will study specialised business models in detail including low-cost airlines, regional carriers, long-haul operators and the charter/inclusive-tour sector of the industry.
Airport Finance and Strategy
In this module you will consider how airport management has changed for many operators with adoption of commercialisation, privatisation and internationalisation strategies. Taking these trends into account, you will explore airport financial performance and the factors affecting this. You will also investigate aeronautical charges and the role of competition and regulation, and examine non-aeronautical revenues and strategies to optimise these. This leads to a discussion of different management approaches related to both aeronautical and non-aeronautical revenue streams and different customers, such as low cost carriers.
As an alternative to one of the above option modules, you have a free choice of one appropriate module from other subject areas in the University (eg transport, logistics, tourism, business). This must be agreed with the Course Leader.
The teaching team includes:
If you are a full-time student without a prior background in the air transport industry you should be well placed on completion of the course to take up a junior position in a planning, management and operational role with airlines and airports. You will also be well equipped for employment as an analyst with consultancies, government bodies and aircraft manufacturers.
If you have a prior industry background you should be able to return to your position with new skills and understanding, plus a greater maturity of approach. You will be well placed to move into senior managerial, policy or research functions. The competitive nature of the industry will also provide many new opportunities for suitably qualified personnel.
A strong performance on the MSc provides the opportunity to study further by registering for a research degree in the Department of Planning and Transport. Graduates will also be equipped with the knowledge, understanding and skills needed to participate in the activities of professional bodies such as the Air Transport Research Society, the German Aviation Research Society and AirNeth.
Additional costs information
To check what your tuition fees cover and what you may need to pay for separately, see our What tuition fees cover page.
Our dedicated Career Development Centre is actively working with an ever-expanding network of over 3,000 employers to provide you with exceptional employability support and guidance. As a result we were nominated as finalists for a significant industry award – the NUE Awards Most Improved Commitment to Employability 2016.
We provide our students with work placements and international opportunities to support them in becoming highly employable, globally engaged graduates, and with one million businesses operating within 20 miles of the University of Westminster, over 84% of our students are in work or further study six months after graduation. Our graduates work in a variety of sectors and organisations, from small/medium-sized companies and start-ups to large not-for-profit organisations and corporates.
During your time at Westminster you will be able to use our comprehensive online vacancy service and meet with our experienced careers consultants, providing you with thorough training and support on CV writing, application forms, interview preparation and assessment centres.
In addition to this, you will receive careers support from academic staff and faculty work placement teams, offering targeted course-specific careers advice and assistance in securing a work placement during your time at Westminster. You can find out more about course-specific career opportunities by visiting the Prospects website.
For more details, visit the employability section on our site.
Career Development Centre
Our Career Development Centre can help and support you throughout your study and after graduation.
We can help you to:
- find part-time/vacation, placement and graduate jobs, including voluntary experience
- explore how to develop the skills that employers are looking for
- plan your career development
- identify your career options
- market yourself effectively in CVs, application forms and at interviews
- develop your enterprise skills
We also organise a range of presentations and networking events with employers, professional bodies, alumni and other organisations throughout the year to help you with career planning.
Find out more about the Career Development Centre.
Our Work Placement Teams are based in your Faculty Registry Office and can help you find a suitable placement, as well as support you in making applications, writing CVs and improving your interview technique.
More details on work placements can be found on our Work placements page.
There are many reasons to study air transport at Westminster:
A dynamic and flexible course
Flexibility - the course has January and September start dates. Modules on this course are taught in blocks of five days at a time. This means we can incorporate industry speakers from our professional development programme and also enables part-time students from elsewhere in the UK and Europe to travel efficiently to London several times a year.
Diverse teaching methods include lectures, group workshops, business games, study visits and individual research.
A prestigious and international reputation
The course builds on our internationally acclaimed air transport short courses which draw participants from around the globe.
Westminster has a long-established and prestigious association with air transport. In the 19th century Sir George Cayley first demonstrated the principles of flight here. The Department was set up by Professor Rigas Doganis 40 years ago, and Professor Doganis will deliver keynote lectures to our students.
Central London location and contacts
Based in central London, we have direct access to professional institutions and practice. The course is informed by current industry priorities.
Join a diverse and vibrant student community, with one of the UK's largest international student populations.
You will be taught by academic specialists and visiting lecturers from industry across the world. This creates a balance between theory and practice in the teaching, and provides a truly international perspective.
A strong research base informs our teaching – 20% of our research in Architecture and the Built Environment was judged as 'World Leading and a further 45% as 'Internationally Excellent' in the Research Excellence Framework 2014.
Study at the newly refurbished Marylebone Campus, where a £20million development has provided world-class facilities.
Study in the city
If you study at the University of Westminster, everything that London has to offer is on your doorstep.
Our central London campuses are ideally located for the city's fantastic learning institutions including libraries, archives and museums, as well as opportunities for shopping, eating out, enjoying London's nightlife or just simply relaxing.
After choosing your course, one of your biggest decisions will be where to live, and we aim to make that choice as easy as possible. Whether you want to apply for our Halls of Residence or live in private housing, we can help you to find the right accommodation.
Fees, funding, bursaries and scholarships
In recent years the University of Westminster's scholarship scheme has been the largest university scholarships scheme in the UK, and our Scholarships Department won the Times Higher Education inaugural Award for Outstanding Support for Overseas Students.
All students on courses of a year or more and who are registered for more than three modules will be allocated a personal tutor.
Your personal tutor will be there to support you from induction onwards, helping you to integrate into the University, academically and socially, at an early stage. They will be able to give you advice and support on academic and personal matters affecting your study, as well as developmental advice through regular individual and group tutorials.
Polylang is a University-wide programme through which you can study a language as a free choice module.
Personal advice and counselling
While most students overcome any problems with help from friends, family or a personal tutor, the University's free counselling and advice services are there if you need them.
With one of the UK's largest international student populations, the University of Westminster has plenty of experience in giving you the help and support you need to make the most of your time with us.
Study Abroad and Summer School programmes
Westminster's Study Abroad programme has been running for more than 15 years, and is one of the largest in the UK – each year we welcome hundreds of visiting students from universities all over the world.
If you are already studying outside the UK, the programme offers you the opportunity to study with us for one or two semesters, or for a period in the summer.
Sport and recreation
The University has extensive sport and recreation facilities, with a sports hall and gym at Harrow, a state-of-the-art gym at Regent Campus, and the University sports ground by the River Thames at Chiswick.
University of Westminster Students' Union (UWSU) aims to make sure you have the best university experience possible by providing a range of activities and support, from sports clubs to society groups, educational advice and social events.
Ruby Leung Wai Hang
Air Transport Planning and Management MSc, graduated 2012
“Westminster provides international students with comprehensive assistance and an enjoyable learning environment. The international students welcome programme includes orientation sections and a coach trip, which was a good opportunity to explore the city and socialise with students from other countries.
The Department of Transport and Logistics has been conducting air transport research for 40 years, and was set up by Professor Rigas Doganis, the non-executive director of easyJet. The university has invited many talented and experienced professionals from the air transport industry, including Professor Doganis, to deliver lectures during the course. It has been very beneficial to all of us especially when they shared their distinctive stories and precise overviews of the industry.
We have been to different airports in the UK throughout the year. Through a number of demonstrations and presentations given by staff working in airports, I learnt how different airports put theory into practice. Our course leader Dr Nigel Dennis and the lecturers are always ready to help. Not only do they provide academic guidance, but they also help students to cope in this new environment.
Westminster has definitely prepared me for my career. In interviews employers have been impressed by my professional knowledge and critical thinking skills.”
Yves De Wandeler
Air Transport Planning and Management MSc
Manager CODA, Eurocontrol
"The part-time course which can be taken over two or three years is flexible for accommodating my work commitments. I also appreciate the aspect of meeting industry professionals from a wide range of stakeholders, creating an ideal opportunity to network and share experience.’’
Air Transport Planning and Management MSc
Safeguarding Manager, Aberdeen international Airport
“The block delivery of modules makes it easy for part-time students from outside London to take the course and studying at Westminster has given me new perspectives on issues I encounter in my daily working environment.”
Transport and Logistics - why Westminster?
Architecture and the Built Environment
We are one of the country's leading centres for the study of Architecture and the Built Environment, covering the core subject areas that address the future shape of our cities.