Flight operation officers (airline dispatcher, flight follower are all synonyms). Who are they? What do they do? What are their responsibilities?
First of all, they are one of the key players in aviation industry. For airliner companies they play a key part in flight operations.
Flight dispatchers assist in planning flight paths. They take into account so many factors such as aircraft performance and loading, meteorological conditions, thunderstorm and turbulence forecasts, Notams, airspace restrictions, and airport conditions. Also, dispatchers provide flight following service and advisory service to pilots in changing conditions during flight.
They usually work in the operation center of the airline in shifts. In some countries, (United States, Canada are some of them) flight dispatcher shares legal responsibility with the captain pilot of the aircraft (joint responsibility dispatch system).
Flight dispatchers monitor any related activities covering the processes of cleaning, refueling and loading of baggage and cargo, flight planning and get in close contact with the cabin crew and aircraft technicians to make sure that the aircraft is ready for take-off.
Dispatchers use sophisticated software tools to monitor the flight’s progress and advise the flight crew of any circumstances that might affect flight safety. Shared responsibility adds a layer of checks and balances to aircraft operation and greatly improves safety.
The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), headquartered in Montreal, is the civil aviation branch of the UN (United Nations). ICAO states that the airline company is responsible for the operational control of its flights and only recognizes dispatch systems using flight dispatchers as the means to control and supervise flights ( ICAO Annex 6, Part 1, Chapter 3). Moreover, Annex 6 Chapter 4 describes the duties and responsibilities of dispatchers.
Flight operation officer and captain pilot share responsibility of the flight jointly. A FOO (Flight Operation Officer) has the right to refuse to dispatch the flight in order to keep safety of that flight. The main aim of the dispatching job is keeping the SAFETY of the flight and the other purposes comes then.
For more and detailed information please click Airline Dispatchers Federation
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