Freedoms of the Air

Sheffield School of Aeronautics is one of the oldest schools for aircraft dispatchers. In our time, educating students on the wonders of the field of aviation expertise has changed quite a bit. When Sheffield opened its doors in 1944, the commercial aviation industry was still very young, and many of the rules and regulations we know today did not exist. There are nine fundamental freedoms of the air that aircraft dispatchers know.  

We think it may be interesting to discuss some of these rights of the sky, and there are two in particular that are very important to the work that aircraft dispatchers do every day.  

The First Freedom 

Airplanes have the right to fly over a foreign country. Technically, all of the air above a country belongs to that country. It would be impossible to fly efficiently if aircraft dispatchers could not create flight paths that entered foreign airspace. Thus. the first freedom of the air allows airlines the right to fly over foreign land.  

The Second Freedom 

This gives airlines the right to land in a foreign country to refuel or perform maintenance, without the passengers disembarking from the plan. For long flights, especially intercontinental ones, it is absolutely necessary to refuel at half way points. An aircraft dispatchers job is to decide when and where to refuel during a flight. Without this freedom of the air, long distance flying would not be possible at all.  

However, neither of these “freedoms” are free. Most airlines are charged a fee for flying over a foreign country and touching down to refuel the aircraft. Though an aircraft dispatcher’s job is to focus on the flight plan and fueling, some airlines may instruct dispatchers to be conscious of the costs to the airline as well.

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