MSc in Air Transport Planning and Management

University of Westminster - Faculty of Architecture and the Built Environment

Program Description

MSc in Air Transport Planning and Management

University of Westminster - Faculty of Architecture and the Built Environment

Modules on this course are taught in blocks of five days at a time to enable international participants 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 will 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.

Core modules

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 on 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 the quality of service. Air cargo has differing requirements for 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 into human resources management and industrial relations.

Research Dissertation

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.

Option modules

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 the 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.

Associated careers

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.

This school offers programs in:
  • English

Last updated January 28, 2018
Duration & Price
This course is Campus based
Start Date
Start date
Sept. 2019
1 year
Full time
8,000 GBP
Home/EU: £8,000 - Overseas: £11,500
United Kingdom - London, England
Start date : Sept. 2019
Application deadline Request Info
End date Request Info
Sept. 2019
United Kingdom - London, England
Application deadline Request Info
End date Request Info