Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)




This industry assessment provided an in-depth view of the aircraft dispatcher industry. An assessment of the industry was needed to project the future of the aircraft dispatcher profession, as well as indicate the necessity of additional aircraft dispatcher training facilities in the United States. The position of an aircraft dispatcher originated in 1938 as a result of numerous aircraft accidents. It was believed that the repeated accidents occurred due to the lack of ground assistance to the pilot, therefore a new Airman Certificate was created, the aircraft dispatcher certificate. Some of the duties of an aircraft dispatcher include aircraft navigation, emergency procedures, weight and balance calculations, flight planning, and meteorological knowledge. This position is regulated by the Code of Federal Regulations that is administered by the Federal Aviation Administration. This paper examined programs that were offered to train aircraft dispatchers. In addition, the study identified any current or projected shortages of aircraft dispatchers in the airline industry, and addressed those needs accordingly. The research utilized a quantitative and qualitative descriptive design using information obtained through the survey research methodology. The findings revealed that the majority of the aircraft dispatcher programs are similar in nature with most offering a standardized program of study leading to certification. The programs varied in types of certification, length of study, graduate services, and tuition costs. The air carriers surveyed reported a slight shortage in aircraft dispatchers, yet also stated that current workload levels were appropriate for the given staffing levels. Both small and large air carriers projected a future need for aircraft dispatchers with large carriers forecasting a significantly higher need over the next one year period. The air carriers reported that an explanation for this future need of aircraft dispatchers is attributed to anticipated growth of the company. Additionally, respondent air carriers indicated that a newly formed collegiate aircraft dispatcher program would be of a moderate to high benefit. Recommendations from this study include aircraft dispatcher schools ensuring uniformity amongst the programs for the purposes of competitive parity and cautious implementation of a collegiate aviation program. Possible future research activities may consist of a repeated study every five years in order to accommodate the changing industry conditions, trend information being established using longitudinal or time-series design, and a feasibility study being initiated specific to a college. Scientific explorations, such as this study, serve to further reveal the nature of the aircraft dispatcher profession.