Why Aircraft Dispatchers Need Flight Planning Skills

Flight planning sounds very broad to anyone who is not in the aviation industry, but the term refers to a very specific set of skills that are required as part of all aircraft dispatcher jobs. Much of what an aircraft dispatcher does at work every day has a lot to do with flight planning; and although not technically correct, an aircraft dispatcher can be called a flight planner.  

Flight planning is exactly what it sounds like. An aircraft dispatcher calculates a flight’s fuel needs, decides on a suitable path based on weather forecasts, and ensures that all FAA regulations and international aviation regulations are adhered to. Finding the most efficient and accurate flight path can save time, money and other resources. All that information is compiled into the flight plan, which is then given to the pilots for review and approval. Aircraft dispatcher jobs are primarily that sort of calculation, an integral part of the process. 

Flight planning is essential, and that is apparent when you consider all the moving parts involved in a single flight. Safety is always the top priority during flight planning, but another part of all aircraft dispatcher jobs is to cut down on costs and increase efficiency. Small adjustments to flight plans can make a big difference in the savings for a fleet and can affect the environment.

The best aircraft dispatchers are those who can manage all aspects of the flight planning process effectively. Prioritize safety, maintain compliance and maintain reasonable costs. A study conducted by Boeing and Aero Magazine shows that an effective flight plan can reduce fuel costs, time-based costs, overflight costs and lost revenue from payload that can’t be carried.

Keeping up with the latest software and technology is important when working to create the most efficient flight plan. Innovation is always changing in the aircraft industry. The FAA has planned to modernize the national airspace system with technology like the Next Generation Air Transportation System. This technology provides more route, altitude and speed optimization from 4D trajectory-based approaches. The Single European Sky Air Traffic Management Research Programme (SESAR) is another technology doing similar things across the pond.

Not only are technologies here to make flight planning cheaper and more cost efficient, but more energy efficient as well. Companies are developing flight planning functions based on atmospheric impact metrics that take emission products into account to help minimize carbon dioxide.

Flight planning is an integral part of the aircraft dispatcher job description. Interested in a career in aircraft dispatching? Visit the Sheffield School of Aeronautics site and find out if aircraft dispatching is the calling for you.

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