Flight operations officer

A flight operations officer


Flight operations officers compile flight information to expedite the movement of aircraft between and through airports. They compile aircraft dispatch data such as scheduled arrival and departure times at checkpoints and scheduled stops, amount of fuel needed for flight, and maximum allowable gross take-off and landing weight.

The duties of a flight operations officer typically include, but are not limited to:

  • Dealing with serious issues that impact the airline, such as air traffic control problems and adverse weather conditions. This can involve rearranging slots when delays occur.
  • Monitoring aircraft to make sure that they run on time.
  • Forward planning to reduce disruption to the flight programme and its possible impact.
  • Making sure that every flight has the correct type of aircraft and that aircraft are in the right place to receive the correct maintenance
  • Arranging for aircraft to undergo maintenance and, when necessary, repair. This involves liaising with engineering centres and others in operations control.
  • Ensure each flight has the correct number of suitable, qualified crew members. Flight operations staff devise rosters allocating pilots and cabin crew to flights. They also arrange cover for any absences.

Other titles

The following job titles also refer to flight operations officer:

flight operations officer
flight operations supervisor
air operations supervisor
director of flight operations
aviation dispatch officer
director of airport operations
air operations officer
manager of flight operations

Working conditions

Flight operations officers need to work in variable shifts in order to cover all the long hours that come with the job. They may be required to work early mornings, weekends, late at night, even on public holidays. Overtime plays a big role when there are delays. They may be required to be on call 24/7.

Most of the flight operations officers work in offices at an airport and some will work from their airline’s head office. In smaller airline companies, they may be required to be present in the areas where the aircraft park. They may be outside during severe weather conditions and when they are outside they have to wear high visibility jackets and ear protection.

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.

Flight operations officer is a Skill level 3 occupation.

Flight operations officer career path

Similar occupations

These occupations, although different, require a lot of knowledge and skills similar to flight operations officer.

private pilot
airline transport pilot
helicopter pilot
aircraft pilot
aviation safety officer

Long term prospects

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

airspace manager
airport planning engineer
leather production planner
programme funding manager
air traffic instructor

Essential knowledge and skills

Essential knowledge

This knowledge should be acquired through learning to fulfill the role of flight operations officer.

  • Air transport law: Know air transport laws and regulations. Due to the nature of aviation, knowledge of air transport laws partially overlaps with knowledge of international law.
  • 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.

Essential skills and competences

These skills are necessary for the role of flight operations officer.

Optional skills and competences

These skills and competences are sometimes, but not always, required for the role of flight operations officer. However, mastering these skills and competences allows you to have more opportunities for career development.

  • Adapt to changing situations: Change approach to situations based on unexpected and sudden changes in people’s needs and mood or in trends; shift strategies, improvise and naturally adapt to those circumstances.
  • Negotiate logistics services: Reach an agreement on the planning and control of the movement of goods, and all related logistical supporting activities without losing sight of one’s own or others’ goals.
  • Provide advice on breaches of regulation: Advise on preventive and corrective actions; correct any breaches of or non-compliance with legal regulations.

ISCO group and title

3154 – Air traffic controllers

  1. Flight operations officer – ESCO
  2. Operations – Careers in Aerospace
  3. What Is A FLight Operations Officer | Debela Aviation Training
  4. Featured image: By RIA Novosti archive, image #980584 / Alexandr Kryazhev / CC-BY-SA 3.0, CC BY-SA 3.0
Last updated on March 20, 2023