Tuesday, 23rd April 2019


Flight dispatchers work in teams, as part of the ground operations of airports, responsible for making sure that aircrafts take off and land on schedule. Not dissimilar to air traffic controllers, they are responsible for ensuring a quick turnaround of flights and overseeing the correct preparations for commercial flights. They will usually work for the airport ground services or airport authorities, working in the operations centres at airports.

The responsibilities of flight dispatchers can vary between different employers, but they would generally liaise with different teams working on the ground to make sure that any work undertaken to prepare a flight is done efficiently and within set timeframes. They make sure that the aircraft is ready, overseeing the cleaning, refuelling and loading/unloading of cargo before giving the all clear for the plane to be boarded and to take off.

The nature of the role requires liaising with all types of airport personnel: cabin crew, pilots, aircraft engineers, operation managers and airport security.

Time-keeping is of great importance in the job of a flight dispatcher. They need to decide when an aircraft is ready for boarding and then when it is clear to take off. Usually the flight dispatcher will be based in an office, but can spend a lot of time moving around the airport and ‘airside’. Tasks might involve:

  • Using airline computer systems to plan schedules and flight lists
  • Co-ordinating the turnaround of aircraft to ensure on-time departure
  • Keeping in contact with cabin crew, captains and ground services personnel via radio
  • Ensuring compliance with all relevant security and safety regulations
  • Planning luggage positioning, seating arrangements and overall load distribution as well as fuel requirements
  • Creating a load sheet and delivering to pilot
  • Calculating an aircraft's take-off and landing weights
  • Ensuring that health and safety standards are being met

Flight dispatchers usually work in shift-patterns that cover the opening hours of the airport. The often report to an airport operations manager and have possibility for progression into this role in the future.