When it comes to aircraft safety, a flight dispatcher plays a vital role. In fact, a pilot and a flight dispatcher work hand in hand, one from the air and one from the ground, on a number of shared responsibilities.
Aircraft dispatchers work with many different departments and personnel in an airline to manage a flight’s safe, on-time departure and arrival. While an airline pilot is in charge of one flight at a time, a dispatcher oversees many aircraft at once.
These responsibilities include coordinating flight plans, calculating the necessary amount of fuel for a trip, taking weather and wind into account, and ensuring the safe passage of an aircraft and its passengers.
Overall, dispatchers will:
- Producing flight plans while considering every aspect of the flight, such as fuel, winds, weather, maintenance issues, weight and balance, and airport delays
- Ensuring each aircraft is properly equipped, or that the flight planning is properly adjusted for maintenance issues
- Provides the pilot with the advised route for an individual flight
- Assesses weather reports and informing the pilot of any hazards
- Reviews aircraft weight, fuel loads and cargo loads
- Reports to air traffic control and airport staff about departure times, and after departure, providing reports on aircraft status and predicted arrival times
- Monitoring flight progress and alerting the captain of changes in weather, airport delays, runway closures, etc.
- Canceling or delaying flights when necessary
- Completion of secondary school education
- Minimum of 21 years of age
- Pass the Transport Canada exam for Flight Dispatcher
- Courses available through flights schools, community and private colleges
Some of the skills and qualifications required for dispatchers include:
- Able to work under pressure in a fast-paced environment especially when flying weather is bad.
- Highly competent with technology, rely heavily on computer software systems, calculators, weather charts, and loading reports.
- Good analytical skills to help with the interpretation of information and applying this to flight plans.
- This is a high pressure role which is responsible for the safety of aircraft and passengers.
- Excellent communication skills.
- Airline Dispatcher
- Aircraft Dispatcher