Ground handling services may be provided by airline employees or by third-party contractors. A large airline may still use its own employees for virtually all ground handling functions at its main base with the possible exceptions of refuelling and catering if this is judged to be cost-effective. At out-stations where there are fewer Company flights, more services will be subcontracted and the number of Company-employed personnel will frequently be minimal, potentially reduced to limited engineering cover or to a single, part-time Company representative.
Nowadays, many airlines subcontract a majority of their ground handling services. General aviation flights will usually use an airport Fixed Base Operator (FBO) for their ground handling requirements.