Flight dispatcher

aircraft dispatcher airline dispatcher flight follower flight operations officer

Career outlook for

Figures and forecasts for roles at the same level, which require similar skills and qualifications.

Average UK salary

Currently employed in Scotland

Jobs forecast

This information is supplied by LMI For All, where data is currently available for Scotland.

What's it like?

You would make sure all the services that get a plane ready for a flight work efficiently and quickly together, so it can leave safely and on time.

You’d be responsible for organising important tasks so the plane can be prepared as quickly as possible.

You’d check that cleaning, refuelling and standard safety checks are done. You’d also make sure that the luggage or cargo has been loaded on to the plane.

Once the plane is ready you’d tell the airline crew to open the gates to allow passengers on and, if someone arrives late, you’d decide whether there is still time to let them board the plane.

You’d give the pilot information such as the weight of the plane with the luggage, passengers and cargo. It may also be up to you to check the weather and landing conditions at the destination and advise on the route so the flight is safe, fast and efficient.

You’d work closely with baggage handlers, aircraft mechanics, catering and cleaning staff, the cabin crew and pilots.

It would be important to be able to use IT and radio systems.

You’d also need to be very conscious of health and safety requirements. You would need to be aware of potential hazards and know how to minimise the risks associated with the dispatch of aircraft.

Many entrants to this job have previous experience in check-in and ticketing operations. Others may be qualified pilots looking for aviation experience and to make contacts in the industry. 

Working conditions

Environment

This can be a physically demanding job as you would be on your feet for a long time. You would be working ‘airside’ so you would be outside with the aircraft and other vehicles.

Hours

You would usually work shifts which may include evenings and weekends.

UK employment status

Full-time

Part-time

Self employed

Here are some of the skills that people in this job would be most likely to have:

  • Communicating with people
  • Working as part of a team
  • Helping customers
  • Using other languages
  • Using computers
  • Being physically fit
  • Finding solutions to problems
  • Planning and organising
  • Time management
  • Making decisions

Build your skills

Your skills can help you choose the career that’s right for you. You can build your skills through work, study or activities you do in your spare time.

To understand more, have a look at what are my skills?

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Getting in

Entry requirements for courses can change. Always contact the college, university or training provider to check exactly what you’ll need.

Qualifications

Most employers will look for qualifications at SCQF level 5 or relevant work-based experience and qualifications such as a City & Guilds Diploma in Aviation Operations on the Ground (SVQ level 2/3).

To enter the National Certificate in International travel with Airport Ground Operations (SCQF level 6) requires three National 5 qualifications

You can enter a NQ Check-in to Travel (SCQF level 5) with no formal qualifications. 

Useful subjects

  • English (required by some courses and employers)
  • Maths (required by some courses and employers)
  • Languages
  • Qualifications which demonstrate good IT and customer service skills

You will also need

To be approved for membership of the Protecting Vulnerable Groups (PVG) Scheme run by Disclosure Scotland.

You would normally need to be at least 18 years of age due to the hours of work involved.

 

Helpful to have

Any qualifications and experience that show helping customers and an interest in travel, tourism or hospitality such as Skills for Work Travel and Tourism (SCQF level 4/5).

Communication and language qualifications may also be of value such as SQA Modern Languages for Life & Work Award (SCQF level 3/4).

Relevant work-based qualifications such as a Scottish Vocational Qualification in Customer Service (SVQ level 2/3) or be willing to work towards qualifications once in a job.

A knowledge of aircraft and airport operations is useful.