In today's rapidly changing air transport environment the industry requires access to advanced and comprehensive knowledge, coupled with an in-depth understanding of its needs.

Designed to equip you with the skills required to pursue a successful career in various sectors of the air transport industry including airlines, airport companies and authorities, civil aviation departments, air transport consultancies and aerospace companies. Strong industry links and success in placing graduates in this sector for over 50 years.

At a glance

  • Start dateOctober
  • DurationOne year full-time
  • DeliveryTaught modules 50%, Group project 10%, Individual research project 40%
  • QualificationMSc
  • Study typeFull-time

Who is it for?

The course is suitable for students with a degree in aeronautical engineering, economics, business studies and geography or those with demonstrable experience in the air transport industry.

This course covers a wide area of expertise related to air transport management whilst enabling you to specialise in appropriated subject areas. This flexibility means that you may tailor the course to your particular interests and aspirations. It aims to provide you with a thorough grounding in all air transport issues as well as managerial, interpersonal, financial and analytical skills.

Why this course?

The MSc Air Transport Management has been established since 1964. The course has an outstanding global reputation with over 1,000 graduates to date. Graduates of this course are featured in our annual CV Book, a publication which is requested by and circulated to our extensive industry partner network, as our graduates are highly sought after. We help students prepare their CV and for interviews for positions all over the world. In addition, we give students access to our exclusive Air Transport Alumni group on LinkedIn. This offers unrivalled networking and job opportunities.

Cranfield University is very well located for students from all over the world, and offers a range of library and support facilities to support your studies. This MSc programme benefits from students from a wide range of cultural backgrounds which significantly enhances the learning experience for both staff and students.

Informed by Industry

The course is directed by an industrial advisory committee comprising senior representatives from leading airports and associated sectors. This group meets annually and ensures that the course content remains up-to-date and equips students with the skills and knowledge required by leading employers. Members of the committee attend the group project presentations and are actively involved in recruiting our graduates.

Current members include:

  • Senior Vice President, Boeing
  • Senior Economist, IATA
  • Director, BAA 
  • Senior Manager, Rolls Royce 
  • Senior Manager, Virgin Atlantic 
  • Senior Manager, EasyJet.

Your teaching team

You will be taught by the largest academic group in the world specialising in air transport management. This multidisciplinary group includes a unique blend of air transport economists, marketing specialists and aeronautical engineers with strong publication records and industry experience. Our teaching team includes:


Course details

The taught programme for the Air Transport Management masters is generally delivered from October to March and is comprised of nine compulsory modules and one module from the choice of optional modules. Many of the lecture modules include case study project sessions and seminars may also be led by senior visitors from industry. 

Students also receive a subscription to industry databases; OAG Schedules, ICAO data, FlightGlobal, CAPA Centre for Aviation.

Group project

The group project undertaken in April, aims to provide a simulated industrial environment where knowledge and skills gained from the taught component can be applied to solving an air transport management problem.

Students are divided into groups and tasked with setting up an airline in any country of the group's choice. Students can also choose any type of airline business model. The group present and defend their business plans to a board of senior industry executives as well as to the faculty. Each group must also submit a detailed report which will be assessed.

Individual project

The individual project is an opportunity to study a current problem and allows students to choose a subject of interest to explore in detail. Students can undertake independent research on a subject relevant to technical, operational or commercial aspects of the air transport or related industries, including a review of relevant literature, methodological planning, data collection, analysis, presentation of results, and evaluation and discussion of these results.

Previous projects have included:

  • The Impacts of Airline Liberalisation
  • Successes of Airline Business Models
  • Applications in Airline Marketing
  • The Benefits of Airport Privatisation
  •  Low-Cost Airline Expansion throughout Europe
  • The Future of In-flight Entertainment
  • Airline Alliances
  • The Impact of Globalisation on Aircraft Manufacturers.

Assessment

Taught modules 50%, Group project 10%, Individual research project 40%

University Disclaimer

Keeping our courses up-to-date and current requires constant innovation and change. The modules we offer reflect the needs of business and industry and the research interests of our staff and, as a result, may change or be withdrawn due to research developments, legislation changes or for a variety of other reasons. Changes may also be designed to improve the student learning experience or to respond to feedback from students, external examiners, accreditation bodies and industrial advisory panels.

To give you a taster, we have listed the core modules and some optional modules affiliated with this programme which ran in the academic year 2017–2018. There is no guarantee that these modules will run for 2018 entry. All modules are subject to change depending on your year of entry.

Compulsory modules
All the modules in the following list need to be taken as part of this course

Air Transport Market Analysis and Forecasting

Module Leader
Aim
    Obtain the theory and knowledge, skills of ‘demand forecasting’, and apply to the practical work for the air transport industry.
Syllabus
    • Introduction to air traffic forecasting
    • Air travel demand
    • Market analysis
    • Trend analysis
    • Time series analysis
    • Market share forecasts
    • Long term forecasts
    • Econometric modelling
    • Evaluating forecasting results
Intended learning outcomes On successful completion of this module a student should be able to:
1. Appraise key factors affecting demand for air travel.
2. Collect data and select the most appropriate model to produce a traffic forecast.
3. Evaluate forecasting methods and interpret the results with confidence.
4. Appraise and critique the work of other practitioners and specialists.
5. Communicate effectively, in written form, the research work produced.

Research Methods and Statistics

Module Leader
  • Dr Nicola Volta
Aim

    To facilitate the use of basic research methods and fundamentals of statistical analysis to solve research problems in the air transport industry.



Syllabus
    Research Methods
    • Introduction to research
    • Case study research design
    • Survey research/questionnaire design
    • Qualitative methods e.g. In-depth interview

    Statistics
    • Descriptive statistics
    • Probability distribution
    • Estimation with confidence intervals
    • Hypothesis testing
    • Analysis of variance (ANOVA)
    • Correlation and simple regression
    • Multiple regression

Intended learning outcomes On successful completion of this module a student should be able to:
1. Evaluate and select the most appropriate research methods and statistical techniques in application to different research needs
2. Critically evaluate research from methodological perspective in terms of its suitability and effectiveness
3. Formulate and demonstrate practical application of research methods in the theoretical design of a study
4. Interpret and evaluate basic statistical results of research/consultancy reports.
5. Propose and apply analysis and interpretation skills appropriately to a substantial dataset.

Applications of Air Transport Economics and Finance

Module Leader
Aim

    To provide awareness of how economic and financial theoretical concepts are integrated and applied to decision-making in the air transport industry.

Syllabus
    • Market Structure, Competition and Regulation
    • Crew Economics
    • Airport-Airline Contractual Relations
    • Airport Commercial Revenues
    • Aviation Networks and Evolutionary Economics
    • Sources of Finance
    • Equity, IPO and Airline Privatisation
    • Risk Management and Hedging
    • Banking Perspective on Airline Industry
    • Business Planning and Financial Management
Intended learning outcomes

On successful completion of the module, you will be able to:

  • Appraise the competitive and regulatory forces that shape the air transport industry
  • Construct an airline’s financial plan, given an understanding of airline financial management
  • Evaluate the alternative ways of financing an airline and its operating assets
  • Analyse the relationships between airline financial management and the underlying economic drivers of the airline business.

Air Transport Marketing

Module Leader
  • Dr Keith Mason
Aim

    To provide students with knowledge, understanding and skills in airline marketing.

Syllabus
    • Introduction to marketing
    • Consumer behaviour
    • Market segmentation
    • Airline and airport products
    • Market research, survey design, and analytical approaches
    • Branding, promotional communication and loyalty
    • Distribution
    • Airport marketing
Intended learning outcomes

On successful completion of the module, you will be able to:

  • Describe the characteristics of the main segments of airline markets
  • Identify and explain the key issues in planning airline products and the importance of product differentiation
  • Use marketing research approaches to investigate airline and airport markets
  • Assess the links between advertising, promotion, branding and customer loyalty
  • Describe the current issues in airline distribution
  • Collect information from a variety of electronic (internet) and hard copy sources to support research
  • Appraise and critique the work of other practitioners and specialists
  • Communicate effectively, in written form, research work produced
  • Take responsibility for research produced, including efficient time management, working to set deadlines and targets, demonstrating self-discipline, creative thinking and critical reflections of your own performance
  • Collaborate and contribute effectively to group workshops and assignments, appreciating the contributions made by other team members.

Air Transport Operations

Module Leader
  • Andy Foster
Aim

    To provide students with knowledge, skills and understanding in the theory and applications of aircraft and airline operations, engineering and maintenance to appreciate the impacts these have on the commercial activities of operators.


Syllabus
    • Flight Operations
    • Commercial Planning/Scheduling;
    • Crew Rostering;
    • Route Planning;
    • Operations Control;
    • Aircraft and its Systems – Airframe; Engines and APU, Hydraulic systems; Air systems; Electrical and Avionics systems; Emergency systems; Fuel systems; Undercarriage and brake systems
    • Maintenance Management – Legal aspects; Continuing airworthiness management; Maintenance Planning


Intended learning outcomes On successful completion of this module a student should be able to:
1. Describe the functions of flight operations, crewing and scheduling departments and the legal requirements.
2. Develop a flight and crew schedule.
3. Describe the purpose of aircraft systems, including electrical, hydraulic and pneumatic systems.
4. Appraise the different means of providing and transmitting power on board the aircraft.
5. Assess how each aircraft system contributes to safe and efficient operation of the aircraft.
6. State how maintenance requirements are determined and how the legal requirements are met.


Air Transport Strategic Management

Module Leader
Aim
    To give the tools needed to perform a detailed Strategic overview of an Airline.
Syllabus
    • Introduction to Strategic Airline and Airport Management
    • Core Concepts of Strategic Management
    • Performing Strategic Analysis
    • Strategies used to Respond to Competition and Competitive Advantage
    • Airline business diversification strategies
    • Ancillary revenue – a game changer for the industry
    • A Detailed case study on Turkish Airlines
    • Exercise on a Strategic overview of an Asian based Airline
    • Airline simulation exercise

Intended learning outcomes On successful completion of this module a student should be able to:
1. Demonstrate a systematic understanding of the differing theories, approaches and perspectives in the field of airline strategy.
2. Understand the integrative role of strategic management, its concepts, research and theories.
3. Apply strategic management concepts and analytical tools to the airline industry.
4. Appraise the strategic significance of integrated collaboration agreements between carriers.
5. Access how different strategies impact the competitiveness of airlines .
6. Collect information from a variety of electronic (internet) and hard copy sources to support research.
7. Appraise and critique the work of other practitioners and specialists.
8. Communicate effectively, in written form, research work produced.
9. Take responsibility for research produced, including, efficient time management, working to set deadlines and targets, demonstrating self-discipline, creative thinking and critical reflections of their own performance.
10. Collaborate and contribute effectively to group workshops and assignments, appreciating the contributions made by other team members.


Introduction to the Air Transport Industry

Module Leader
  • Andy Foster
Aim
    To provide an introduction to the air transport industry and an appreciation of the business and operational challenges faced by its key components.
Syllabus
    • Introduction to the aviation system
    • Scheduled and low cost airlines
    • The airport business
    • Airport planning and design
    • Air transport and the environment
    • Air traffic management
    • Aviation safety and security
    • Aircraft manufacturers
    • Tourism and air transport
Intended learning outcomes On successful completion of this module a student should be able to:
1. Describe the key components of the air transport system, explain their essential characteristics and illustrate the challenges they face;
2. Recognise and interpret the safety, security and environmental dimensions of the aviation industry;
3. Collect information from a variety of electronic (internet) and hard copy sources to support research;
4. Appraise and critique the work of other practitioners and specialists;
5. Communicate effectively, in written form, research work produced

Regulatory Policy and Air Law

Module Leader
  • Professor Keith Mason
Aim
    To provide a sound comprehension of how legal concepts and regulatory policies affect and apply the air transport industry, considering its unique nature.
Syllabus
    • International regulation
    • EU regulatory policy
    • Introduction to air law
    • The Chicago convention
    • Airline liability
    • EU air law
    • EU competition law
    • Impact of deregulation
    • Introduction to airport regulation
    • Safety regulations ICAO
    • Safety regulations EASA/H&S
    • Environmental regulation

Intended learning outcomes On successful completion of this module a student should be able to:
1. Demonstrate a systematic understanding of the respective roles of air transport industry regulatory institutions and be able to evaluate their effectiveness.
2. Demonstrate how changes in economic regulation and competition law have influenced the evolution of air transport markets.
3. Demonstrate a systematic understanding of important aspects of the Warsaw and Montreal Conventions and be able to apply these to solving cases concerning legal liability.


Theory of Air Transport Economics and Finance

Module Leader
  • Dr Robert Mayer
Aim

    To provide a sound comprehension of how economic theories and financial concepts relate and apply to the air transport industry, considering its unique nature.


Syllabus
    • Demand and Elasticity
    • Costs and Supply
    • Revenue and Profit maximisation
    • Structure of Airline Revenues and Costs
    • Network Economics
    • Aeronautical Charges
    • Financial Statements
    • Financial Ratios
    • Investment Appraisal
    • Aircraft Leasing
    • Market Structure, Competition & Regulation
    • Airport-Airline Contractual Relations
    • Airport Commercial Revenues
    • Sources of Finance
    • Equity, IPO and airline privatisation
    • Risk management and hedging
    • Banking perspective on airline industry
    • Business Planning & Financial Management
Intended learning outcomes On successful completion of this module a student should be able to:
1. Analyse aviation markets.
2. Appraise the economic prospects of airlines and airports, based on.
3. The principles of demand and supply as applied to air transport.
4. The characteristics of airline business models and their key economic drivers.
5. The drivers of air transport profitability, revenues and costs.
6. Assess the financial performance of airlines and airports through.
7. Application of investment and project appraisal techniques.
8. Analysis and interpretation of financial statements.
9. Calculation, comparison and evaluation of financial ratios of airlines and airports.
10. Appraise the competitive and regulatory forces that shape the air transport industry.
11. Evaluate the alternative ways of financing an airline and its operating assets.
12. Analyse the relationships between airline financial management and the underlying economic drivers of the airline business.

Elective modules
A selection of modules from the following list need to be taken as part of this course

Airline Fleet Planning

Module Leader
  • Mr Andy Foster
Aim

    To provide students with the fundamentals of the aircraft selection and fleet planning process.

Syllabus
    • Aircraft Performance and Economic Analysis
    • Data Sources and Modelling Techniques
    • Defining the Aircraft Product
    • Evaluation of Competing Products
Intended learning outcomes

On successful completion of the module, you will be able to:

  • Describe the principles of fleet planning
  • Analyse the performance and economics of different aircraft types.

Aviation Safety Management

Module Leader
  • Dr Simon Place
Aim

    This module will provide students with an opportunity to apply the knowledge and skills learned in the 'Safety Assessment of Aircraft Systems' module, in a practical scenario. The module aims to equip students with the ability to conduct a comprehensive safety assessment on an airframe whist working in a team, and to present the group work both orally and in a written report.


Syllabus
    • Functional Hazard Assessment (FHA): The FHA exercise will identify the critical failure conditions of the system. Each group will classify the failure conditions in accord with the 25.1309 categories and identify the analysis techniques most appropriate to each.
    • Particular Risks: The Particular Risks appropriate to the system and its installation will also be considered as appropriate.
    • Enhanced Fault Tree Analysis (EFTA): In groups the students will carry out an Enhanced Fault Tree Analysis for the failure conditions identified by the FHA as being appropriate to this analytical technique.
    • Failure Mode and Effects Analysis (FMEA): This exercise will use existing system drawings in order to perform FMEA on the aircraft system.
    • Zonal Safety Analysis: Students will carry out a Zonal Safety Analysis on the aircraft zones in which the system is installed.

Intended learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module a student should be able to:

1. Explain the application of the main techniques for safety assessment.
2. Critically evaluate the functions of an aircraft system from a safety perspective and select the most appropriate analytical technique.
3. Conduct a variety of System Safety Assessment analysis methods in an applied context.
4. Plan the different aspects of a System Safety Assessment, allocating team tasks and resources as appropriate.


Air Transport Engineering

Module Leader
  • Dr Simon Place
Aim

    This module will provide students with the fundamentals of the disciplines associated with the management of aircraft maintenance and engineering.

Syllabus
    • Maintenance programme development: creation of a maintenance programme based on technical requirements and operational priorities; Maintenance Steering Group 3 process
    • Optimisation of maintenance: outsourcing/in-house maintenance; application of lean principles to maintenance operations; maintenance planning and costs
    • Human factors in aircraft maintenance: error types; models for human factors; classification systems; maintenance error management system
    • Maintenance Error Decision Aid (MEDA)
    • Logistics and supply chain management
    • Relationship between manufacturer, operator and maintenance organisation
    • Continuing airworthiness management; regulatory aspects (EASA Part M) with regard to continuing airworthiness management
    • Health and usage monitoring, engine condition monitoring etc.
Intended learning outcomes

On successful completion of the module, you will be able to:

  • Describe the principles of reliability with direct reference to aircraft availability
  • Outline a maintenance management programme, including the interface with operations, supply chain and cost issues
  • Critically appraise the various aircraft maintenance philosophies used for in-service aircraft
  • Develop a process for achieving continuing airworthiness management with the appropriate regulatory approval.

Air Transport and the Environment

Module Leader
Aim
    Obtain the theory, knowledge and technique to assess the environmental impact related to the aviation industry, and appraise it in the different point of views according to the stakeholders.

Syllabus
    • Aviation, the environment and economy
    • Environmental economics, issues and policy, abatement cost of carbon, and cost benefit analysis
    • Measuring airlines’ carbon footprints including workshop
    • Forecasting aviation’s carbon emissions
    • Industry structure and airline emissions
    • Technology and operational solutions
    • Noise, local air quality, and climate change regulations, protocols and industry self-management
    • Airport environmental management
    • Airport surface access
    • Passenger engagement with aviation environmental issues
    • Managing demand and mitigation

Intended learning outcomes On successful completion of this module a student should be able to:
1. Demonstrate a clear understanding of fundamental environmental economics and the analytical tools to assess aviation’s impact on the environment.
2. Understand models to estimate aircraft emissions.
3. Appraise the environmental impacts from air transport, locally, regionally and globally.
4. Identify current and future environmental regulatory controls on the air transport industry and assess trade-offs between environmental priorities.


Fees and funding

European Union students applying for university places in the 2018 to 2019 academic year will still have access to student funding support. Please see the UK Government’s announcement (21 April 2017).

Cranfield University welcomes applications from students from all over the world for our postgraduate programmes. The Home/EU student fees listed continue to apply to EU students.


MSc Full-time £11,000

Fee notes:

  • The fees outlined apply to all students whose initial date of registration falls on or between 1 August 2018 and 31 July 2019.
  • All students pay the tuition fee set by the University for the full duration of their registration period agreed at their initial registration.
  • A non-refundable deposit is payable on offer acceptances and will be deducted from your overall tuition fee.  Home/EU Students will pay a £500 deposit.  Overseas Students will pay a £1,000 deposit.
  • Additional fees for extensions to the agreed registration period may be charged.
  • Fee eligibility at the Home/EU rate is determined with reference to UK Government regulations. As a guiding principle, EU nationals (including UK) who are ordinarily resident in the EU pay Home/EU tuition fees, all other students (including those from the Channel Islands and Isle of Man) pay Overseas fees.

For further information regarding tuition fees, please refer to our fee notes.




MSc Full-time £22,500

Fee notes:

  • The fees outlined apply to all students whose initial date of registration falls on or between 1 August 2018 and 31 July 2019.
  • All students pay the tuition fee set by the University for the full duration of their registration period agreed at their initial registration.
  • A non-refundable deposit is payable on offer acceptances and will be deducted from your overall tuition fee.  Home/EU Students will pay a £500 deposit.  Overseas Students will pay a £1,000 deposit.
  • Additional fees for extensions to the agreed registration period may be charged.
  • Fee eligibility at the Home/EU rate is determined with reference to UK Government regulations. As a guiding principle, EU nationals (including UK) who are ordinarily resident in the EU pay Home/EU tuition fees, all other students (including those from the Channel Islands and Isle of Man) pay Overseas fees.

For further information regarding tuition fees, please refer to our fee notes.




Funding Opportunities

To help students in finding and securing appropriate funding we have created a funding finder where you can search for suitable sources of funding by filtering the results to suit your needs. Visit the funding finder.

ISTAT Foundation Scholarships
The ISTAT Foundation is actively engaged in helping young people develop careers in aviation by offering scholarships of up to $US10,000. One student will be nominated for a scholarship each year by Cranfield University.

Postgraduate Loan from Student Finance England
A Postgraduate Loan is now available for UK and EU applicants to help you pay for your Master’s course. You can apply for a loan at GOV.UK

Santander MSc Scholarship
The Santander Scholarship at Cranfield University is worth £5,000 towards tuition fees for full-time master's courses. Check the scholarship page to find out if you are from an eligible Santander Universities programme country.

Chevening Scholarships
Chevening Scholarships are awarded to outstanding emerging leaders to pursue a one-year master’s at Cranfield university. The scholarship includes tuition fees, travel and monthly stipend for Master’s study.

Cranfield Postgraduate Loan Scheme (CPLS)
The Cranfield Postgraduate Loan Scheme (CPLS) is a funding programme providing affordable tuition fee and maintenance loans for full-time UK/EU students studying technology-based MSc courses.

Commonwealth Scholarships for Developing Countries
Students from developing countries who would not otherwise be able to study in the UK can apply for a Commonwealth Scholarship which includes tuition fees, travel and monthly stipend for Master’s study.

Future Finance Student Loans
Future Finance offer student loans of up to £40,000 that can cover living costs and tuition fees for all student at Cranfield University.

Erasmus+ Student Loans
This new loan scheme for EU students is offered by Future Finance and European Investment Fund and provides smart, flexible loans of up to £9,300.

Entry requirements

A first or upper second class UK Honours degree (or equivalent) in any relevant discipline. A lower qualification plus a number of years' relevant working experience may be accepted as equivalent.

Applicants who do not fulfil the standard entry requirements can apply for the Pre-Masters programme, successful completion of which will qualify them for entry to this course for a second year of study.

English Language

IELTS Academic – 7
TOEFL – 100
Pearson PTE Academic – 68
Cambridge English Scale – 190
Cambridge English: Advanced – C
Cambridge English: Proficiency – C

In addition to these minimum scores you are also expected to achieve a balanced score across all elements of the test. We reserve the right to reject any test score if any one element of the test score is too low.

We can only accept tests taken within two years of your registration date (with the exception of Cambridge English tests which have no expiry date).

Students requiring a Tier 4 (General) visa must ensure they can meet the English language requirements set out by UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) and we recommend booking a IELTS for UKVI test.

Applicants who do not already meet the English language entry requirement for their chosen Cranfield course can apply to attend one of our Presessional English for Academic Purposes (EAP) courses. We offer Winter/Spring and Summer programmes each year to offer holders.

Your career

Many of our former graduates now occupy senior positions within the air transport industry. The Centre for Air Transport Management has close links with companies and organisations in the industry who consider our students a valuable source of potential recruits.

Former students have taken up employment in a variety of positions in a wide range of organisations. Some of the main recruiting areas in recent years have included:

  • Airlines (e.g. British Airways, Air France, Virgin Atlantic, Monarch, American Airlines, Lufthansa, easyJet,)
  • Aerospace Manufacturers (e.g. Airbus, Bombardier, British Aerospace, Rolls-Royce)
  • Airport Operators (e.g. Heathrow, Manchester, Birmingham )
  • Aircraft Maintenance
  • Integrators
  • Consultancy Firms
  • Aviation Insurance and Finance
  • Aviation Journalism
Airplane wing

I wouldn't have been able to have the career that I've had without the course. Its door-opening - having the course and having the Cranfield network leads you to have the opportunity to take on new jobs.

Jon Howey, Vice President of Risk Management

Applying

Online application form. UK students are normally expected to attend an interview and financial support is best discussed at this time. Overseas and EU students may be interviewed by telephone.


Apply Now

Application decision rounds

Due to the competitive nature of this programme, and high volume of applications received, decisions are made in rounds.

Therefore, if you submit your application by 07:30am UK time on Tuesday 2 January 2018, you will be considered in the first round and will receive a confirmed decision on your application by 26 January 2018.

If you submit your application after Tuesday 2 January 2018 and by 27 April 2018, you will be then considered in the second round and will receive a confirmed decision on your application by 25 May 2018.

Any applications received after 27 April 2018 will be put on a waiting list and will be considered should places become available.