Postgraduate MSc/PgDip/PgCert

Sustainable Air Transport Operations and Planning

School of Science, Engineering and Environment





One year

Three year

Next enrolment

September 2024


In a nutshell

The COVID-19 pandemic has left aviation facing unprecedented challenges, not least the need to develop more sustainable practices in the recovery. Prepare for a career where you can lead this change with our MSc Sustainable Air Transport Operations and Planning postgraduate degree.

We are delighted that the Royal Aeronautical Society have approved this programme.

Delivered by an expert academic teaching team, our course combines interdisciplinary modules designed to nurture your practical and analytical skillset.  We're excited to be the first UK course delivered in partnership with Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University (ERAU) - a world leader in aviation education.

The course is recommended for graduates and professionals looking for career opportunities in aviation operations and planning. Available with full and part-time study routes, the course draws on strong industry partnerships and our close proximity to two UK international airports. 

International applicant? Please check international intakes for the latest information and application dates.

Start your MSc Sustainable Air Transport Operations and Planning study journey

Register for our next Open Day where you can learn more about the course, tour our new engineering facilities and meet the tutors

You will:

  • Learn to identify challenges and find solutions to facilitate sustainable growth of air transport using environmental, economic and social frameworks
  • Improve your skills and competence in delivering research, critical thinking, problem-solving, communication and time management
  • Develop your knowledge and and skills alongside expert teaching staff with extensive experience and connections within the aviation industry

students accepted

This is for you if...


you are a recent graduate considering a future career in air transport operations management


you are an industry professional looking to enhance your existing skills to facilitate career progression or diversification


you are a graduate or professional interested in learning more about air transport sustainability for research or consultancy purposes

Course details

All about the course

An airplane

Course delivery

Our MSc Sustainable Transport Operations and Planning course is delivered through a range of industry-focused modules. The 180-credit MSc award comprises six taught modules, plus a dissertation. The 120-credit PgDip comprises six taught modules. 

Flexibility is at the heart of our learning approach. You can choose to study this postgraduate course on campus over one year full-time, or up to three years part-time:

  • You will study six credit-bearing modules, including an optional choice delivered by our strategic partner and world leader in aviation education Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University (ERAU)
  • For the full 180-credit MSc award, you will also complete a 60-credit dissertation project module based on a topic of your choice
Course development

We regularly review module content with our partners to ensure your acquired knowledge and skills reflect trends and industry needs. Drawing on Salford's industry-focused ethos when developing the course, our course team consulted with senior professionals at UK airports (Manchester Airport, Liverpool John Lennon Airport, London Luton Airport, Gatwick Airport, London Stansted Airport, Aberdeen Airport and Doncaster Sheffield Airport), with major airlines (British Airways, Virgin Atlantic Airways, EasyJet and Jet2), UK and international aviation authorities and organisations (NATS, Eurocontrol and The International Civil Aviation Organization) and regional branches of the Royal Aeronautical Society (Manchester Branch).

Learning experience

Our course explores sustainable air transport operations and planning from a broad perspective of economic and societal challenges and opportunities.  Current course topics include airline/airport operations and planning, the future of urban air mobility, cyber security and environmental challenges, such as reduction of emissions and noise. 

A key course feature is our partnership with Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University (ERAU) which offers you the opportunity to shape your learning and focus on interests or career aspirations. You can choose a specialist module from a range of topics that currently include safety programme management, air traffic management, emergency response or advanced meteorology. Learn more about the modules and options in the section below.

Course team

The Sustainable Air Transport Operations and Planning postgraduate programme is delivered by an academic team with extensive industry experience and research connections.

Follow us on LinkedIn for latest updates.

Course leader: Dr. Viktoriia Myroniuk

Trimester one

Airport Planning and Operations

This module covers a broad range of areas of sustainable airport operations and planning, including:

  • airport capacity
  • land-use planning
  • airport biodiversity preservation 
  • wildlife hazard management
  • airport ground access
  • airport terminal design and operations
  • baggage handling
  • airport safety and security
  • airport water and waste management
  • aerodrome design
  • ground support equipment
  • ramp handling operations
  • extreme weather operations and disruption management
  • airport emergency planning, rescue and firefighting operations
  • airport crisis management
  • airport economic and social sustainability.

Throughout the module, you will identify problems and find solutions to ensure sustainable airport operations and planning based on economic, social and environmental contexts.

Airline Planning and The Future of Urban Air Mobility

This module examines different components of sustainable airline planning, including:

  • passenger and cargo demand forecasting
  • route network planning and optimisation 
  • aircraft fleet planning
  • inflight health and wellbeing
  • sustainable aviation fuels
  • airline scheduling
  • airline pricing and revenue management
  • distribution channels, airline alliances, and business models
  • community engagement  
  • safety and security
  • social perception 
  • environmental impact of drones and flying taxis

Throughout the module, you will identify problems in airline planning and urban air mobility and seek solutions.

Trimester two

Airline Operations

This module covers different areas of sustainable airline operations, such as flight operations, passenger identification, passenger and baggage check-in and boarding procedures, cargo operations, catering, unruly passenger prevention, customer service, crisis operations, humanitarian and disaster assistance. 

Environmental Impact Assessment

This module examines and evaluates processes for investigating and mitigating the impacts of development in the context of environmental impact assessment and planning procedures.

You will explore impact assessment policy, law and practice through case study research and practical applications in the field. You will have the opportunity to interact with environmental impact assessment professionals in developing and presenting a case study.

Environmental Noise Measurement and Modelling

In this module, you will carry out measurement and modelling of environmental noise using appropriate sound measuring instrumentation and modelling capabilities.  You will develop the ability to describe and explain the main provisions of current environmental noise legislation, guidance and best practice. 

During the module, you will also develop the ability to interpret the requirements in order to carry out reliable environmental noise measurements and modelling, and apply acoustic theory decision about the most appropriate interventions to control environmental noise.  This module will also introduce the state-of-the-art soundscape methods. 

Plus, choose one 15-credit module from the following options delivered online by Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University Worldwide (ERAU):

Aviation/Aerospace Safety Program Management

This module covers the essential skills and methodology needed to plan and manage an effective aviation safety program. Emphasis is placed on understanding the principles of risk management, and the principles, tools, and techniques used in a Safety Management System. You will study methods to achieve enhanced safety, moving beyond mere compliance with regulatory requirements.

Aviation Cybersecurity: Threats. Actors, Tools and Techniques

​This module explores the cybersecurity threats and actors that pose risks to aviation. It reviews both the tools and techniques used by malicious actors and those used to defend against the threats and attacks. This course provides the fundamentals of developing an incident response plan and operational defense plan to prepare an organization to respond to cybersecurity threats and attacks.

Concepts and Practices of Project Management

This module provides you an appreciation for the depth and breadth of the project management profession. This module will address the complete project model including initiating, planning, executing, monitoring, controlling and closing. Emphasis will be placed on gaining knowledge of common terminology, principles, techniques and tools that are found global standards for project management.

Statistical Analysis

The module examines the review, design, planning, analysis and statistical interpretation of data to support research studies and industrial applications. You will build on statistical theory and learn advanced techniques that can be applied to problem-solving, research analysis and numerical interpretation of data.

During the module, you will learn to identify parametric and non-parametric statistics, develop correlation methods for linear and nonlinear data, and statistical significance testing between samples and within samples. You will undertake projects using computer programs for data that is derived or given.

Fire Safety Management

This module is designed to teach the essentials of fire protection and prevention in the context of safety, health and environmental management. This module will provide an introduction to fire behavior and combustion to include fire chemistry, fire dynamics, and concepts related to the development and spread of fire.

This module will also address fire prevention methods, fire detection systems, and fire protection including control systems, fire suppression, and extinguishment.  The development of fire safety programs will be also addressed, along with emergency action plans and response.

Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Response

This module is designed to increase your knowledge of disaster preparedness and emergency response procedures, safety and health hazards and controls, and enforcement issues.

Topics covered include elements of an emergency response plan, training requirements, the incident command system, medical surveillance, and post-emergency recovery. Major elements involved in disasters and emergencies, systems use, and attention to essential human services are also examined.

Advanced Meteorology

This module discusses major topics in meteorology with an emphasis on aviation weather hazards, such as atmospheric structure and circulation, atmospheric kinematics and thermodynamics, mid-latitude and tropical cyclones, convective and non-convective weather features, local wind phenomena, and fundamental concepts in weather analysis and forecasting.

During the module, you will also be introduced to the use of numerical weather prediction products in weather forecasting. Assignments and projects will focus on conducting basic atmospheric analysis and forecasting using internet-based weather data and forecasting products, and will provide you with practical experience in making informed weather-sensitive decisions.

The Role of Airport in Global Air Traffic Management

This module examines the aspects of Global Air Traffic Management systems that are directly linked to airports. Airports are tangibly the beginning and end of aircraft movements within air traffic management systems. Knowledge of the operational aspects of NextGen, SESAR and other international air navigation system components such as WAAS, ADS-B and PBN-OPD that are owned, operated or occur on airport properties are critical concepts of air traffic management.

The module also evaluates the influences of NextGen and other international modernized air navigation systems on airport operations management with regards to facilities, local ATC, airport tenants, airline operations, environmental impacts and community relations programs.

Aviation and Aerospace Sustainable Organisations

Investigate sustainable operations of aviation and aerospace organizations. Analyse how the distinctive operations of aviation and aerospace organisations could move along with sustainability practices. Sustainable strategies must be a core element within aviation and aerospace organisations; the development of a sustainable strategy should consider the distinctive characteristics of the industry and the interactions among its stakeholders.

Research Methods and Analysis

This module is designed to equip students with the theoretical techniques and skills to identify and evaluate qualitative and quantitative research problems. The module introduces both qualitative and quantitative data analysis. Sampling and data gathering in systematic manners are incorporated into research methodologies. The use of numerical analysis on qualitative data is covered to result in significance solutions and recommendations.

Sustainable Aviation and Aerospace Perspectives

An examination of aviation/aerospace's interaction with the world from the viewpoint of positive and negative effects. Short term and long-term effects will be investigated to highlight the significant challenges associated with forming a sustainable future for the industry by examining case studies and best management and technology practices.

Best Practices for Aviation and Aerospace Sustainability

Systems in aviation and aerospace are complex and diverse across many global platforms. This module investigates the design, development, operation, maintenance, and decommissioning of flight vehicles and the systems needed to keep them sustainable by applying forward-thinking engineering, environmental, and best practices to determine sustainable solutions. This module will also present the accelerating development practices that can benefit international aviation's contribution across the main pillars of sustainability.

Aviation and Aerospace Organisation Development, Leadership and Workforce Development

Aviation and aerospace industries reach across cultural and international boundaries. This module encompasses contemporary organisation development (OD) and interventions that help organisations balance economic, social, and environmental objectives and behavioural issues in the industry.

The module examines the principles of organisation development, change, leadership, cross-cultural communications, diversity, and social equity.

Trimester three

MSc Dissertation

The dissertation is a research project, which must focus on an air transport topic. It is an opportunity to choose a subject of interest and explore it in detail, including a review of relevant literature, methodological planning, data collection, analysis, presentation of results, evaluation and discussion of these results.

Please note that it may not be possible to deliver the full list of options every year as this will depend on factors such as how many students choose a particular option. Exact modules may also vary in order to keep content current. When accepting your offer of a place to study on this programme, you should be aware that not all optional modules will be running each year. Your tutor will be able to advise you as to the available options on or before the start of the programme. Whilst the University tries to ensure that you are able to undertake your preferred options, it cannot guarantee this.

What will I be doing?


You will benefit from a modern learning environment, enriched with accessible lecture theatres and AV-equipped classrooms, computing suites and multimedia libraries, with access to air transport industry journals, news sources, online databases, and simulation software.

The course utilises a range of learning methods, including:

  • Lectures
  • Workshops
  • Tutorials
  • Online platforms
  • Field trips - such as to Manchester Airport, Liverpool Airport, EasyJet, Jet2

Please note, all elective modules led by ERAU are delivered using their interactive online learning platform.


The assessment format for each module is based on the learning outcomes, but the typical methods include:

  • Examinations
  • Coursework
  • Essays
  • Tests
  • Discussions
  • Presentations
  • Dissertation

School of Science, Engineering and Environment

Rising to the challenge of a changing world, our postgraduate courses are designed to shape the next generation of urbanists, scientists, engineers, consultants and leaders.

Shaped by industry, and delivered by supportive programme teams, you can develop the skills to take your career potential further.

Employment and stats

What about after uni?

Air traffic controller


Aviation is one of the world's leading industries - and growing. Air transport is a major component projected to experience further increases, with air passengers numbers also predicted to double by 2036.  Amidst the global commitments to tackling climate change, the industry is expected to need more professionals aware of sustainability-focused issues to help navigate this growth.

The knowledge and skills you will gain on the course will enable you to pursue a range of career paths working with major airports, airlines, air transport regulatory bodies and professional bodies, and air transport consultancies.  The knowledge and skills you'll develop will give you greater awareness of challenges and opportunities facing the aviation industry.  Due to the unique focus on sustainability, you'll also gain the confidence to facilitate and advocate approaches that can help you stand out in competitive job markets.

Further study

You might also choose to take your subject interest further with postgraduate research. The engineering research hub is home to Informatics PhD and Research Master’s opportunities focused on the advancement of engineering, robotics and technology, for societal progress and economic growth.

Explore our Doctoral School to learn more about research training, support and opportunities.

A taste of what you could become

An Airport Operations Manager

An Aviation Consultant

A Route Planner

An Aviation Safefy Manager

A Logistics Manager

And more...


What you need to know

Applicant profile

The course is recommended for ambitious graduates and experienced professionals with strong analytical skills and a passion for the aviation industry.  Ideally, you will be looking to enhance your existing knowledge and skills, with a view to working in air transport operations and planning in the near future.

English language requirements

All of our courses are taught and assessed in English. If English is not your first language, you must meet our minimum English language entry requirements. An IELTS score of 6.0 (no element below 5.5) is proof of this, however we do accept a range of equivalent qualifications. 

Read more about our English language requirements, including information about pathways that can help you gain entry on to our degree courses.  If you do not have the English language requirements, you could take our Pre-Sessional English course


Please check international intakes for the latest information and application dates.

Standard entry requirements

Undergraduate degree

  • A minimum 2:2 honors degree from a UK university (or international equivalent) in engineering, economics, tourism, business, management, or a related subject.
  • Applicant with relevant industrial experience will also be considered on an individual basis.

International student entry requirements

We accept qualifications from all around the world. Find your country to see a full list of entry requirements.

Alternative entry requirements

Accreditation of Prior Learning (APL)

We welcome applications from students who may not have formal/traditional entry criteria but who have relevant experience or the ability to pursue the course successfully.

The Accreditation of Prior Learning (APL) process could help you to make your work and life experience count. The APL process can be used for entry onto courses or to give you exemptions from parts of your course.

Two forms of APL may be used for entry: the Accreditation of Prior Certificated Learning (APCL) or the Accreditation of Prior Experiential Learning (APEL).

For more information or enquires about this scheme, please contact: 

Learn more about the Salford Alternative Entry Scheme.

How much?

Type of study Year Fees
Full-time home 2024/25 £9,450.00per year
Full-time international 2024/25 £16,380.00per year
Part-time 2024/25 £1,575 per 30 credits

Additional costs

Costs associated with field trips that are part of the Environmental Impact Assessment and Environmental Noise Measurement modules are included in your course fees. You will be expected to cover any optional visits to airlines, airports, or industry events.

You should also consider further costs which may include books, stationery, printing, binding, and general subsistence on trips and visits.

International student scholarships

If you are a high-achieving international student, you may be eligible for one of our scholarships. Learn more about our latest international scholarships.

Apply now

All set? Let's apply

Enrolment dates

September 2024

September 2025