Airline Dispatchers

are highly trained individuals who hold a valid FAA Aircraft Dispatcher certificate. They are employed by Airlines and aviation related companies and work in the airline’s operational control center.

In an airline there are two individuals that are responsible for the operation and safety of the flight; the captain and the dispatcher.  There are other groups assisting in the operation, but these two groups have to certify each flight.  There are 3 major steps in this process and they are broken down like this:

Initiate the flight

– this is generally started by the dispatcher with steps like flight planning, weight and balance, weather and ATC coordination, etc.  The captain will review the package generated by the dispatcher and sign off on the flight plan.

Conduct the flight

– the captain will fly the plane according to the plan and the dispatcher will flight follow the flight.  Any changes are coordinated and approved by both parties.

Terminate the flight

– the plane lands and taxi to the gate.  The dispatcher makes sure the airplane has landed safely, is at the gate and terminates the flight.

Think about the dispatcher as the non-flying captain on the ground that assist and work with the captain to make sure the flight is operated safely and legally.