The Responsibilities of an Aircraft Dispatcher
You may already know that you want to work in the airline industry, but which position is right for you? There are a number of jobs outside of actually flying the plane that still come with a significant amount of responsibility. An aircraft dispatcher is one of the most important people in the process, as there must be one in charge of every flight. Here are some of the tasks you can expect to handle if you plan on pursuing this career:
The most important thing that dispatchers do is to ensure that an airplane can safely get to where it is going. These individuals assess every aspect that can affect the safety of a flight, which could vary from plane to plane based on route, aircraft and other factors. For example, a dispatcher will review:
- The weather at the departure and arrival site
- The weather along the flight route
- The weather at an alternate airport in the event of an emergency landing
- The mechanical performance of the plane
An airplane requires a dispatcher to sign off before it can ever take off, and the dispatcher has the authority to cancel the flight if necessary.
Reviewing the Crew
As part of a dispatcher’s role in ensuring the safety of the flight, he or she will likely review the people who are flying the plane and tending to passengers. Dispatchers make sure that the each member of the crew has the required qualifications. Additionally, a dispatcher may check to see if the crew has had enough rest between flights.
Another key part of this position’s responsibilities is to get the plane from its departure site to its arrival site as efficiently as possible. That will mean the flight is planned to travel along the most efficient route possible while maintaining safety. In order to accomplish this, dispatchers will take into account how much fuel will be consumed during the flight as well as how much additional fuel should be on the plane in case the pilot has to steer clear of weather or get to an alternate airport.
Just as a pilot is responsible for evaluating and re-evaluating the weather, route and other factors during the flight, so is the dispatcher. In addition to all the work they do prior to takeoff, dispatchers will also make sure that the flight runs smoothly by keeping an eye on any approaching storms or other circumstances that could compromise the safety or efficiency of the plane.
The Benefits of Becoming an Aircraft Dispatcher
While it may seem that working in the airline industry can be stressful, the Federal Aviation Administration has put guidelines in place to prevent employees such as dispatchers from becoming overworked. For example, dispatchers may only work 10 hours per shift. This could create the opportunity for flexibility, such as working four 10-hour shifts and getting three days off.
These people also get a chance to work with a variety of people, such as top airline management, maintenance crews and the fuel department. A day on the job is sure to be filled with action and important decision-making. If you are interested in a career as an aircraft dispatcher, knowing a little bit more about the job’s requirements is a good place to start.