Aircraft dispatcher

An air traffic control tower. Aircraft dispatchers work in similar environments.


Aircraft dispatchers authorise, regulate, and control commercial airline flights according to governmental and company regulations. They expedite and ensure flight flow by preparing logs of flights, delays, cancellations, and changes in schedules or flight plans.

The duties of an aircraft dispatcher include, but are not limited to:

  • Coordinating with pilots and other crew members to ensure that all safety procedures are followed
  • Monitoring weather conditions to ensure flight safety, making adjustments to routes as needed
  • Creating flight plans using information from the dispatcher’s database of airport operations and runway configurations
  • Providing pre-flight counseling to pilots about weather conditions, flight times, and other important information
  • Scheduling aircraft maintenance checks and creating maintenance reports for each plane
  • Verifying that planes have enough fuel for their flights and updating fuel levels as needed
  • Monitoring air traffic control communications to ensure safe passage of planes in flight
  • Communicating with pilots about any changes in plans or emergencies that may occur during a flight
  • Coordinating with other staff members to arrange for airport services such as fueling and catering services

Other titles

The following job titles also refer to aircraft dispatcher:

airline dispatcher
airplane dispatcher
helicopter dispatcher
aeroplane dispatcher
dispatcher of aircrafts
flight information expediter
aircraft information expediter
flight dispatcher

Working conditions

Aircraft dispatchers work in the air traffic control tower at airports or in the dispatch center of an airline. They work in shifts that cover all hours of operation at the airport or airline. The work can be stressful, as flight dispatchers must constantly monitor the progress of flights and make quick decisions in the event of an emergency. They must also be able to work well under pressure and handle a large volume of information.

Minimum qualifications

Flight dispatchers typically need a high school diploma. Some flight dispatchers choose to pursue an associate’s degree in aviation or aeronautical science. These degrees provide aircraft dispatchers with a strong foundation in the principles of flight and aeronautics.

Aircraft dispatchers typically receive on-the-job training from their new employers. This training may last for a few weeks to a few months and may include shadowing current aircraft dispatchers and performing duties under supervision until they are comfortable enough to work on their own.

ISCO skill level

ISCO skill level is defined as a function of the complexity and range of tasks and duties to be performed in an occupation. It is measured on a scale from 1 to 4, with 1 the lowest level and 4 the highest, by considering:

  • the nature of the work performed in an occupation in relation to the characteristic tasks and duties
  • the level of formal education required for competent performance of the tasks and duties involved and
  • the amount of informal on-the-job training and/or previous experience in a related occupation required for competent performance of these tasks and duties.

Aircraft dispatcher is a Skill level 2 occupation.

Aircraft dispatcher career path

Similar occupations

These occupations, although different, require a lot of knowledge and skills similar to aircraft dispatcher.

aircraft marshaller
ship pilot dispatcher
aircraft cargo operations coordinator
airline food service worker
telecommunications equipment maintainer

Long term prospects

These occupations require some skills and knowledge of aircraft dispatcher. They also require other skills and knowledge, but at a higher ISCO skill level, meaning these occupations are accessible from a position of aircraft dispatcher with a significant experience and/or extensive training.

aeronautical information service officer
aviation data communications manager
air traffic controller
private pilot
aeronautical information specialist

Essential knowledge and skills

Essential knowledge

This knowledge should be acquired through learning to fulfill the role of aircraft dispatcher.

  • Airport planning: Know airport planning for different types of aircrafts; use that information to mobilise resources and people in order to handle the aircrafts while they are in the airport.
  • Air traffic control operations: Understand the tasks performed by air traffic controllers, including Interaction and effective communication between aircraft and air traffic controllers; execution of follow-up activities, and ensuring smooth operations during flights.
  • Aviation meteorology: Understand aviation meteorology to deal with the impact of weather on air traffic management (ATM). Understand how thorough changes in pressure and temperature values at airports can create variations in head and tail-wind components, and may impose low visibility operating conditions. Knowledge of aviation meteorology can help to reduce negative impact on the ATM system by diminishing disruption and the consequent problems of disturbed flow rates, lost capacity and induced additional costs.

Essential skills and competences

These skills are necessary for the role of aircraft dispatcher.

  • Operate radio equipment: Set up and operate radio devices and accessories, such as broadcast consoles, amplifiers, and microphones. Understand the basics of radio operator language and, when necessary, provide instruction in handling radio equipment correctly.
  • Calculate aircraft weight: Calculate total aircraft weight, taking into account luggage, cargo, passengers, crew and fuel. Compose weight and balance documentation.
  • Apply company policies: Apply the principles and rules that govern the activities and processes of an organisation.
  • Perform multiple tasks at the same time: Execute multiple tasks at the same time, being aware of key priorities.
  • Use meteorological information: Use and interpret meteorological information for operations dependent on climatic conditions. Use this information to provide advise on safe operations in relation to weather conditions.
  • Act reliably: Proceed in a way that one can be relied on or depended on.
  • Use ICT systems: Select and use ICT systems for a variety of complex tasks in order to meet a variety of needs.
  • Use different communication channels: Make use of various types of communication channels such as verbal, handwritten, digital and telephonic communication with the purpose of constructing and sharing ideas or information.
  • Think analytically: Produce thoughts using logic and reasoning in order to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
  • Work in an aviation team: Work confidently in a group in general aviation services, in which each individual operates in their own area of responsibility to reach a common goal, such as a good customer interaction, air safety, and aircraft maintenance.
  • Make time-critical decisions: Pursue optimal time-critical decision making within the organisation.
  • Meet deadlines: Ensure operative processes are finished at a previously agreed-upon time.
  • Apply airport standards and regulations: Know and apply the accepted standards and regulations for European airports. Apply knowledge to enforce airport rules, regulations, and the Airport Safety Plan.
  • Prepare notices to airmen for pilots: Prepare and file regular briefings in the information system used by pilots; calculate the best possible way to use the available airspace; provide information on the potential hazards that may accompany air shows, VIP-flights, or parachute jumps.
  • Assist pilot in execution of emergency landing: Assist aircraft pilot during emergency situations and emergency landing procedures.
  • Prepare flight dispatch release: Prepare and sign the dispatch release – an official document providing authorisation for the flight to depart.
  • Tolerate stress: Maintain a temperate mental state and effective performance under pressure or adverse circumstances.
  • Take weather conditions into account: Delay or cancel flights if unsafe weather conditions might endanger the safety of aircraft, passengers or crew.
  • Disseminate flight information: Compose and disseminate flight information to others within the company. This is the source of information provided to the travelling public.
  • Ensure accuracy of aeronautical data: Ensure the accuracy of published aeronautical information, e.g. landing charts and radio navigational aids.
  • Create a flight plan: Develop a flight plan which details the flight altitude, route to be followed and the amount of fuel required using different sources of information (weather reports and other data from air traffic control).

ISCO group and title

4323 – Transport clerks

  1. Aircraft dispatcher – ESCO
  2. Flight Dispatcher Job Description: Salary, Duties, & More – Climb the Ladder
  3. Featured image: By DiscoA340 – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0
Last updated on December 6, 2022

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