Reasons an Aircraft Dispatcher May Divert a Flight

Every flight plan is carefully checked and rechecked by aircraft dispatchers, pilots, and flight controllers. In fact, flight plans are so thoroughly thought out that there are back up plans just in case a flight needs to be diverted. Aircraft dispatcher training prepares dispatchers to deal with expected and unexpected diversions from the planning phase and on. When and why would aircraft dispatchers divert flights?  

  • Weather 

The most common reason aircraft dispatchers divert flights is in response to weather conditions. Weather monitoring is a major part of the day to day lives of aircraft dispatchers. Preparing for inevitable diversions comes with the territory.  

Aircraft dispatcher training focuses heavily on monitoring and predicting weather systems effectively. The weather is constantly changing, and even a meteorologists predictions are incorrect from time to time. If a thunderstorm develops or a snow storm changes direction, aircraft dispatchers divert flights to maintain the safety of everyone on board.  

  • Unruly Passengers 

Unfortunately, an unruly passenger can cause delays. Although aircraft dispatchers divert flights more so for weather, it is not uncommon for some flights to be grounded or diverted to land sooner because of passengers. Nearly a third of passenger-related issues are due to alcohol consumption. 

Aircraft dispatcher training does not have to cover “how to deal with unruly passengers” part because that is handled by the flight crew. The flight captain then has the final say.  

  • Health and Safety 

Some aircraft dispatchers divert flights at the request of the captain if there has been a medical emergency. Over the decades, there have been instances of babies being born mid-flight, passengers experiencing heart attacks and strokes, or other emergency health issues. The flight captain will usually consult with a medical professional and make the decision to divert the flight.  

In even rarer cases, some flights have been grounded because passengers were too ill to fly. Though not a major cause for concern, it has happened on a few occasions. 

When the decision to divert is made, the aircraft dispatcher must jump into action. All of the training and preparation should make the diversion an easy task indeed.  

Aircraft dispatcher training places a great deal of focus on planning, which is why almost every possible outcome is determined before a flight even takes off. Diversions are typically planned for very accordingly. Extra fuel and flight paths are prepared in advance. 

In the unusual case that a flight is diverted for unexpected reasons, it can cost the airline a lot of money. Fees are paid to airports that the plane touches ground at, refueling costs, and paying for airline employees overtime adds up. 

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