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Flight operations officers, also known as flight operations duty officers or flight operations controllers, are part of the team responsible for the day-to-day running of their airline’s operations control centre. They make sure that the airline has the right aircraft in the right place at the right time, with the right crew, ready to go. They are employed by both passenger and cargo airlines.


Flight operations managers meet with staff each day to discuss issues, oversee all major operational decisions and devise solutions to problems that arise. They also advise other departments of operational issues that may affect the airline’s performance.


What are the Main Responsibilities of Flight Operations Managers?


Flight operations managers may be responsible for one or more of the following:


  • Dealing with serious issues that impact the airline, such as air traffic control problems and adverse weather conditions. This can involve rearranging slots when delays occur.
  • Monitoring aircraft to make sure that they run on time.
  • Forward planning to try to reduce disruption to the flight programme and its possible impact.
  • Making sure that every flight has the right type of aircraft and that aircraft are in the right place to receive the correct maintenance
  • Arranging for aircraft to undergo maintenance and, when necessary, repair. This involves liaising with engineering centres and others in operations control.
  • Making sure that each flight has the right number of suitable, qualified crew members. Flight operations staff devise rosters allocating pilots and cabin crew to flights. They also arrange cover for any absences.


What Qualifications & Skills do I need to become a Flight Operations Manager?


Employers tend to require or prefer candidates with some GCSE’s/S grades (A-C/1-3), including English and maths. Flight operations staff have usually worked in other air transport jobs.

A relevant qualification can be helpful. There are a number of qualifications that young people can work towards, full time or part time, that help to prepare them for entry to air transport work and eventually to flight operations work. Such qualifications include GCSE in Leisure & Tourism or BTEC First Certificate or Diploma in Travel & Tourism.


As a flight operations manager you will need to have good planning skills, have strong communication skills, both written and spoken. You will also need to be able to remain calm under pressure and when working to deadlines and be a quick thinker.


What can I expect to earn as a Flight Operations Manager?

Remuneration will vary between emplyers, but tend to be around £20,000 to £35,000.