The system providing for operations control with joint responsibility of licensed dispatchers is followed by about 50% of all the countries in the world, as many countries in North America (which is sorely responsible for about 40% of the world’s air traffic) follows this system (Cordes, 2007). The United States has overtime required that the dispatcher demonstrates extensive knowledge in meteorology and aviation. The dispatcher has to attain a competence that is similar to that of an airline transport pilot license, in these fields. Stringent training requirements for dispatchers in the United States are due to the high amount of responsibility delegated to them, and it is a requirement for all dispatchers to be licensed. The United States delegates a higher responsibility for its dispatchers, than provided in the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO). In the United States, the dispatcher possesses the ability to delay, divert or terminate a flight (Kay, 2009). While ICAO provides that these professionals act in a supporting and assisting role, the United States delegates a responsibility of dispatchers interlinking with that of the pilot-in-command according to the Federal Aviation Regulations (FARs) regulations (Cordes, 2007). Today, dispatchers are highly skilled personalities as compared to the previous situation, and licensing in the United States arose to ensure safety through planning and surveillance (The Position of Aircraft Dispatcher, n.d.). They are required to hold an FAA Aircraft Dispatcher certificate (iPod, 2006).
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The ICAO contains the requirements which must be fulfilled for a flight dispatcher to obtain the license. Annex 1 Chapter 2.5 of the ICAO regulation, which binds all contracting states, provides that the dispatcher must have professional experience, knowledge, and skills, in addition to establishing a minimum entry age of 21 years (Cordes, 2007). The competence of the dispatcher is left to be proved by the relative authority. The document also provides the training elements for theoretical and practical training. In the United States, a dispatcher must give evidence of experience attainment in an area related to flight operations before receiving a full license, and this indicates the importance of experience in determining who to be licensed. The aforementioned experience necessitates practicing in a fully licensed position but to qualify for a formal license, a training course must be accomplished. The United States requires that a recurrent training of a minimum of 20 hours be accomplished by the licensed dispatchers to qualify to retain the current license. The dispatchers must pass this test. An annual competence check is also offered to determine the ability of the individual legible to keep the current license. In addition, such retention of the current certification must be justified bypassing a familiarization flight on the flight deck. Some countries are following the United States example of shared flight control and the need for flight dispatchers to be licensed. Some of the countries that require licensing are Russia, although they had no shared operational control provisions in 2006. Other beneficial skills include the ability to make decisions and quick-mindedness (iPod, 2006).
The need of licensing flight dispatchers has come up as a need to improve or check on the security and flight efficacy concerns. A flight dispatcher is required to assist in the preparation of a flight, filing of the flight plan, initiating the emergency procedures as well as provide the in-flight information; and therefore their qualification is of great importance since these operations can greatly affect the safety of the flights (Cordes, 2007). Flight dispatchers in the United States, are supposed to take the FAA written exam which is similar to the FAA ATPL written exam and pertains safety of a flight.
The working environment for the traditional flight dispatcher has changed over time because of the technology and industrial dynamism (ADF Historical Info, 2006). In the European environment, there has been negligence for specific stringent requirements for flight dispatcher licensing, partly because the position has partly been regarded as outdated with the technological development allowing the access of the information from computers and other technological equipment (Cordes, 2007) (see also Lehr, n.d.).
ADF Historical Info. (2006). Web.
Cordes, A. (2007). Job profile and training requirements for European flight dispatchers. Web.
iFOD. (2006). What is an airline dispatcher? Web.
Kay, M. (2009). About Aircraft Dispatchers.
Lehr, H. (n.d.). Flight dispatchers in private or business aviation. Web.
The Position of Aircraft Dispatcher. Web.