Female flight dispatchers doing Saudi Arabia proud

Flight dispatcher Nouf Allam

Flight dispatcher Nouf Allam

Twenty Saudi women are attending a 13-week intensive course to become flight dispatchers at Aviation Pioneer Academy in Jeddah.

Eight of them have already received licenses to work as flight dispatchers.

Flight dispatcher Nouf Allam said she got inspiration for the job from her father who was a pilot.

Manal Kutbi, spokesman of the academy, said more women are interested in such courses.

“Dispatchers play a big role in helping the pilots fly aircraft by providing him with the necessary information, including weather conditions,” she said. “The job requires good concentration and precision.”

Dispatchers keep pilots from flying into turbulence, volcanic ash and thunderstorms. They also save them from running out of fuel or arriving at airports where runways are icy. They serve as the pilots’ eyes and ears on the ground.

Dispatchers also watch the conditions at the destination airport, and propose alternate airports where the plane could be landed during an emergency. They can order a pilot to divert or reroute the plane, said an expert.

When the plane is in the air, the dispatcher tracks it. When a pilot radios in that he has a sick flight attendant or an unruly passenger, the first person he speaks to is the dispatcher.


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