Working in aviation does not mean only the position of the pilot or a 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 the 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. It can be the airline’s airport office or a control center, located in a different place. No airline can operate without his work, no matter whether it is a commercial, private or a cargo carrier.
The flight dispatcher job 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 a smooth journey for the passengers and the crew. He works in shifts, including nights, weekends, and holidays.
Detailed responsibilities of a flight dispatcher job
- 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 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, e.g. those responsible for hotel reservations, giving information about the flight
- monitoring of the trip regarding weather conditions, delays or other events
How to start? Schools and courses for flight dispatchers
You can find a wide range of courses offering training for flight dispatchers on the Internet. They can be carried out by standard aviation schools, airlines, or universities that specialize in aviation. A 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 emergencies, meteorology, navigation, aviation law and practice in flight planning.
What you should consider while choosing a flight dispatcher course
- history of school/organization
- position in the market
- the best schools employ full-time instructors, so it is not only their additional job, and the team has contact with the students. There is also less chance of rotating the teachers during training. You should ask instructors about their experience of working for the airlines.
- opinions about the school and courses
- cooperation with the airlines and the possibility of future employment
- facilities – a place of training and help with finding discounted accommodation
- the way of conducting classes – some of the schools carry out part of their courses online, so it saves time and money
- price of a full course, and additional costs
Important: completion of the course is not the same as getting a license – some countries like Poland or the USA also require this document.
Cost of a flight dispatcher course
Prices vary depending on the company and region. In the US, the course price at a flight school starts at $ 5,000. Large airlines charge more, but there is a big chance to hire you after the course.
Emirates Aviation University (Official Emirates Airlines school): 12 690 $
Lufthansa: 22 500 Euro
FDS OPS (Poland): around 1500$
Sheffield School of Aeronautics (USA – Florida): 5200$
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 (Poland) or 23 years (USA)
- English at an advanced level
- secondary education
- clear criminal record
- in some countries, the license is required
The requirements may vary depending on the employer and the place.
Major airlines usually require several years of experience at the same position, so it`s easier to start a career in smaller companies.
Flight dispatcher job – salary
Salary varies depending on place, airline or experience of the candidate.
Starting a career in Europe, you can reach approx. 45 000 Euro per year. In US minimum annual rates are around 45 000 $. An experienced dispatcher can make even $ 150 000/year. In Poland, initial earnings are at a low level. You have to consider that your salary for the first two years will not exceed 4000 zł per month (approx. 900 Euro), but experienced flight dispatcher’s salary can reach 14 000 zł.
In the Middle East you can count on similar wages as in the US, but you don’t pay taxes.
Do you have experience as a flight dispatcher or did you pass the course? Please leave a comment and share your opinion, it will be useful for other readers!
You might also like: