What do flight dispatchers do?
Flight dispatchers are employed at airlines and support pilots in preparing for flights. For this purpose, they specify the flight route and altitude, determine the arrival and take-off times, gather weather information, work out the loading plan, and calculate the kerosene consumption, as well as the take-off and landing weight. Flight dispatchers work together closely with air traffic control as well as with the flight crew. Before take-off they brief the crew and provide them with important information about the passengers, freight, or particular happenings such as military exercises. After take-off they monitor the flight and manage the rest of the flight in the case of an emergency or disruption. They redirect flights when necessary and obtain the required flyover rights, organise the landing permission for alternative airports, take care of connecting flights for the passengers, change the shift rota for the crew and aircraft. Flight dispatchers ensure not only the punctuality of the flight but also its safety and profitablilty. In times of growing competition in international aviation, dispatchers play an ever more important role.
Which requirements do dispatchers need to fulfil?
Dispatchers are not impeded by any legal entry requirements. Rather, the training providers state their own criteria. In general, dispatchers need to work in a focussed manner, be precise and have great communication and critical response skills. A sense of responsibility is essential for safe and smooth flight operations. Further necessary requirements are frequently very good mathematical and scientific knowledge as well as great English. Other possible requirements may be:
- Background check by the Federal Aviation Authority.
- High school leaving certificate, advanced technical college certificate or graduation from middle school plus completed vocational training.
- At least 21 year of age
- No pending criminal proceedings
- An excerpt from the traffic registers
How can I become a flight dispatcher?
Training to become a dispatcher takes place in seminars at flight schools or at flight dispatcher headquarters at airports. The period of training depends on whether it is completed full- or part-time. In general, it takes between six and thirteen months. The training courses are split into theoretical and practical sections. An exam must be sat at the Federal Aviation Authority in order to obtain the necessary license. Experienced pilots may bypass the training modules upon application and directly sit the exam. Training costs come to between 16,500 and 22,500 EUR for new entrants. Pilots who do additional training to become dispatchers generally pay a bit less. The theoretical training content is similar to that of pilots. During their training, dispatchers receive well-founded knowledge in the areas of air-traffic law, navigation, meteorology, general aircraft knowledge and flight preparation.
What can dispatchers expect in professional life?
Dispatchers predominantly work in offices at airports. From there, they communicate via telephone, computer and radio. Occasionally they're active on the taxiways too. They work in a team with the aircraft crew and security staff. They have a diverse field of activities and the tasks change often. Shift work, including night shifts, is a part of the normal job for dispatchers. The gross salary comes to about 4,000 Euro/month.