by | Jan 2, 2023 | 11 comments

Fostering Growth, Innovation, and Sustainability in Airline Operations

The safety, efficiency, and profitability of airline operations depend on how quickly a flight can be turned around without violating any CAA rules. Catering, fueling, cleaning, pre-departure maintenance, weather, ticketing, checking, boarding, ramp coordination, and many other activities precede the arrival and take-off of a flight. However, it may interest you that there is a group of young men and women who work around the clock to ensure that all of these activities take place as planned. These individuals are known as flight dispatchers/flight operations officers.

The safety, efficiency, and profitability of an airline depends on how quickly a flight can be turned around without violating any CAA rules.

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Flight dispatchers are the heartbeat of an airline; they assist in flight path planning and are the primary liaison to the cockpit crew. Flight dispatchers coordinate all activities on the ground at an airport to ensure that aircraft are safely, quickly, and efficiently transitioning from landing to take-off. Dispatching flights in Nigeria is the same as in any other country, but there are some inherent peculiarities due to political, economic, social, technological, legal, environmental variations, and cultural nuances. In this article, I’d like to go over some step-by-step guidelines from my experience in successfully dispatching/ turnaround a flight in Nigeria.

PRE-FLIGHT STEPS (Preliminaries)

  1. Because of the system’s time lag, you must be proactive in everything.
  2. Confirm if the aircraft is available for service.
  3. Study the flight schedule very well and confirm you are using the right version.
  4. Study the NOTAMS available and prepare to use them during crew briefing.
  5. If the flight is not scheduled, you must ensure that the landing notification reaches all agencies, and I repeat all agencies. Then, make multiple hard copies of the sign landing notification and distribute them to all of the agencies’ operational offices as well as those in the field physically.
  6. If it’s a scheduled flight that they’re already used to, you can skip step 5, but you’ll still need to confirm the officer on duty in all relevant offices for the flight, so you can call them as soon as it departs to inform them of the ETA.
  7. Confirm the status of passengers at the counter
  8. Call the fueling company to inform them of the schedule, and the estimated uplift, confirm receipt of the fueling mail and finally call him to inform him of the ETA.
  9. After ensuring that all stakeholders are aware and prepared for the flight, the next level.
  10. Examine the external and internal airport environment for any events or movement that could affect the flight’s departure or arrival at the airport.


As soon as the above steps were successful, `

  1. File your ATC flight plan on time, but if it’s a commercial flight, the flight plan may have already been signed by other dispatchers in the previous shift, or better yet, confirm that the ATC flight plan has been signed and is still valid.
  2. As part of your preparation for the crew briefing, check the weather report at the departure station, en route alternate, destination, and destination alternate before briefing the crew.
  3. As soon as the aircraft arrives and the flight is approved, ensure that fueling and cleaning are completed.
  4. Confirm adequate catering is onboard.
  5. After you’ve confirmed your checked-in passengers and total weight, prepare your load sheet and trim sheet, if the captain approves, approve loading to commence.
  6. Before making the boarding announcement, confirm from the flight and cabin crew, the maintenance department is ready for boarding, notify the captain during the briefing and obtain his approval.
  7. Then call for boarding close the counter and sign all of your documents.
  8. Ensure all boarding team members are on duty stations to ensure safety, efficiency, and compliance.
  9. Confirm the number of passengers onboard once boarding is complete to ensure your load sheet and manifest are correct.
  10. Also, confirm that all travel documents are onboard before closing the door, walk around to ensure all holes are closed, and be on standby for pushback.


  1. Immediately the flight departs as planned, sent the flight movement to the destination station
  2. File all flight documents in accordance with NCAR.
  3. Login and update all flight information and status until its arrival at its destination.
  4. Monitor weather development and the flight on rather until landing.


Finally, if these and other steps are taken proactively, they will ensure profitable, safe, and efficient flight operations.

Please keep in mind that the list of steps is not exhaustive; feel free to add yours in the comments section. This is critical to me and others.

Note: this is a review of the previous publication in September.

About the Author

Shadrach Swante Kambai

Flight Operations Consultant, Aviation Data Analyst, Business Developer (

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  1. Faith

    Flight dispatchers must be doing a very good job in the aviation industry but hardly here much about them.

  2. Samson

    This is well detailed.
    In addition, priority should be given to passengers with special attention during boarding, e.g passengers on wheelchairs.
    Dispatchers play quite an important role in the aviation industry, even though they seldom get enough recognition.

  3. John Adebiyi

    This is well detailed. But in the case where boarding is called for and checking counter is still selling tickets without the awareness of the dispatcher. Though, there are still few passengers seat (let’s say 3 and the ticketers have sold 7 extra tickets. What should be done in that case??? Considering that the company’s profit generation is our priority and safety.

    • Shadrach Swante Kambai

      Thank you John for supporting our vision to give every aviator’s dream a chance just like my career was given a chance some years ago.
      Your question is very interesting, but in an ideal situation every airline have a time the close counter for selling of ticket and the number of seat available for the ticketers.
      If there are empty seats available after boarding and there is still time left, the ticketing supervisor will first seek the consent of the dispatcher or ops cntrl before he issue more tickets. this implies selling 7 intead of 3 will not happen in a disciplined airline where communication is effective. Howeevr, where the mistake has been commited already, the checking counter will only check-in 3 passengers and leave the other 4 with tickters to refund. After the flight, a query will be issued immediately to the ticketting supervisor to explain why he over booked the flight.

      • John Adebiyi

        Thanks so much sir for the enlightenment. Well understood. Can you throw more light on no 5 of the pre-flight planning stage (non-scheduled flight). Thanks

    • Olopele Joshua

      I really appreciate your well explained step by step guides, truth is dispatchers are underrated in my opinion considering the volume of work they carry out to ensure the fluency of the daily operations of an airline. I also want to mention that fuelers tend to pose a problem sometimes in these pre-flight planning process as they tell lies alot about their position even when you give them an ETA, as a result it is advisable to give an earlier ETA so you can get them to be on the ramp in a visible position for assurance prior to the actual ETA of your landing aircraft to be prepared for turn around or departure. This is a lovely piece and a good read for new flight dispatchers like me. Regards


    Thanks ,

    I’m learning alot already

  5. Olukotun Tijesunimi Emmanuel

    Well stated… In aviation safety must never be compromised and that’s our major job, not just safety, profitability inclusive. In Nigeria now we two ways flight dispatchers work
    1. The dispatchers who does virtual dispatch (don’t go to the aircraft to brief their pilot)
    2. The flight dispatchers who goes regularly to the ramp to brief their pilots.
    Which is best as regards safety?

  6. Olukotun Tijesunimi

    Well stated… In aviation safety must never be compromised and that’s our major job, not just safety, profitability inclusive. In Nigeria now we two ways flight dispatchers work
    1. The dispatchers who do virtual dispatch (don’t go to the aircraft to brief their pilot)
    2. The flight dispatchers who go regularly to the ramp to brief their pilots.
    Which is best as regards safety?

  7. Laago Progress Baridapdoo

    They also plan the safest and most economical route to cut the company cost and also get passengers to their destination on time. They are assertive, proactive and situationally aware of the environment and this helps them make decisions on time and provide solutions to any form of emergency.

    • Shadrach Swante Kambai

      Thank you sharing in our vision and taking your time to add your knowledge to this article.


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