Working in aviation does not mean only the position of the pilot or flight attendant. There are many other options for those who are interested in working on the ground or in the air. One of the interesting opportunities, especially for those who can not fly for some reason, is working as a flight dispatcher.
What does flight dispatcher do?
Flight dispatcher job is often confused with air traffic controller duties. However, these are two different positions.
Flight dispatcher works on the ground. This may be the airline`s airport office or control center located in a different place. Any airline can operate without his work, no matter whether it is a commercial, private or cargo carrier.
This position involves great responsibility. Not only pilots, but also the dispatcher is responsible for the security and proper conduct of the flight. His responsibilities include planning to make smooth journey for the passengers and crew. He works in shifts, includning nights, weekends and holidays.
- planning the course of the flight, starting with the route and basic parameters, ending with obtaining the appropriate permits
- analysis and evaluation of meteorological information to select a suitable route of the flight and assess potential risks
- calculating the right amount of fuel needed to operate the flight
- preparing the flight plan – a document containing information such as weather conditions, routes, conditions at the destination airport
- intermediary between the cockpit crew and the other parts of the company, eg. those responsible for hotel reservations, giving information about the flight
- monitoring of the flight regarding weather conditions, delays or other events
How to start? Schools and courses for flight dispatcher
On the Internet you can find a wide range of courses offering training for flight dispatcher. They can be carried out by standard aviation schools, airlines or universities which specialize in aviation. Full-time course usually lasts approx. 5 weeks.
The training covers issues related to air traffic control, radio communication, basics of the construction of the aircraft, aerodynamics, procedures in emergency situations, meteorology, navigation, aviation law and practice in flight planning.
What you should consider while choosing a course:
- history of school / organization
- position on the market
- the best schools employ instructors at full-time – as a result, it is not only their additional job and staff on a daily basis has contact with the students. There is also less chance of rotating instructors during training. You should also ask stuff about their experience of working for the airlines.
- opinions about schools and courses
- cooperation with the lines and the possibility of employment
- facilities – place of training and help in finding discounted accommodation
- way of conducting classes – some of the schools carry out part of their courses online, so it saves time and money
Important: completion of the course is not the same as getting a license – some of the countries such as Poland and the USA also require this document.
Prices vary depending on the company and region. In the US, it can be assumed that the price of the course in flight school ranges from $ 5,000. More expensive courses are conducted by large airlines, but they increase the chances of employment in the company.
Emirates Aviation University (Official Emirates Airlines school): 12 000 $
Lufthansa: 22 500 Euro
FDS OPS (Poland): around 1500$
Sheffield School of Aeronautics (USA – Florida): 4900$
Jeppesen (Frankfurt, London): 4175$
Avtech 2000 (UK): 1458 pounds
- high resistance to stress and responsibility
- experience in aviation (pilot, flight controller, meteorologist) or completed flight dispatcher course
- minimum age is usually 21 (eg. Poland) or 23 years (USA)
- English at an advanced level
- secondary education
- clear criminal record
- in some countries required license
The requirements may vary depending on the employer and the place of employment.
Major airlines usually require several years of experience at the same position, so it`s easier to start a career in smaller companies.
Salaries vary depending on place, airline or experience of the candidate.
Starting career in Europe, you can achieve approx. 25 000 Euro per year. In US minimum annual rates are approx. 35 000 $. An experienced dispatcher can reach even $ 100 000/year. In Poland, initial earnings are at the low level. You must face the fact that your salary for the first two years will not exceed 3000 zł (approx. 700 Euro).
In Middle East you can count on similar wages as in US, but remember that you don`t need to pay the tax.
Do you have experience as a flight dispatcher or did you pass the right course? Please leave a comment and share your opinion, it will be useful for other readers!