Airport & Airline Careers

In this post I’m going to describe the role of the Aircraft or Flight Dispatcher. You may also see this role described as the Airline Dispatcher or Flight Operations Officer, among other titles.

Flight Dispatcher

Every commercial aircraft that takes off from an airport requires a team of people who ensure its departure is safe and on time. As well as the engineers who may have serviced the aircraft, the ground operations teams who load the cargo or passenger luggage, the cabin and air crew, there are the Flight Dispatchers. The Flight Dispatchers are responsible for coordinating all the services and preparations required to ensure an aircraft leaves on schedule.

They start their day with a thorough examination of the current weather and the forecast for all their aircraft routes and destinations. They check the route for the intended flight and make any adjustments to it, having taken into account weather conditions en route or at the destination, and the operational status of airports. For this reason, Flight Dispatchers need to be able to confidently interpret weather data, NOTAMs, and other forms of information relating to aircraft in flight.

Flight Dispatchers spend a lot of time communicating with colleagues on the ground, at the airport, and the flight crews aboard the aircraft. They arrange for the cleaning of passenger aircraft and the loading of cargo aircraft. They arrange for the refuelling, routine maintenance checks, and any ad hoc servicing that may be required on the aircraft.

When you’re waiting in Departures to board your aircraft, it is the Flight Dispatcher who gives the green light for the gate to be opened for passenger boarding. It is the Flight Dispatcher who informs the air crew of the total weight of all cargo, luggage, and passengers. This is crucial information that needs to be accurate to ensure safe take off, flight, and landing.

The correct loading of an aircraft of any size, whether it’s a single engine trainer or a four engine airliner, has to take into account the weight of the fuel, the luggage & cargo, and the passengers & crew. These weight and balance calculations ensure that the aircraft can take off, fly, and land safely, taking into account no only the limitations of the aircraft but also the altitude of the airport, the prevailing weather conditions, and the length of the runway at both the point of departure and at the destination.

What skills do I need to become a Flight Dispatcher?

If this is a career that interests you then you’ll need to have good communication skills, both written and spoken. You should be confident in using IT systems and be able to learn and adapt to programs and utility software specific to the role. A basic understanding of airport operations and aircraft types is obviously a good start. A knowledge of hazardous goods, and health and safety procedures is also important for the role.

Flight Dispatchers are usually expected to work shifts in order to cover aircraft arrivals and departures around the clock. The job can also be physically demanding as you may be expected to spend some of your time outdoors in all weathers as you liaise with staff airside, around aircraft, and elsewhere on the airport apron.

Time management, resource planning, decision making, and additional language skills are all useful for this role. However, some of these skills can be developed with on the job training.

You may have acquired college certificates demonstrating some basic knowledge, for example, the City and Guilds Aviation Operations on the Ground (4877) or similar credentials that shows a basic aptitude pertaining to airport operations.

Starting salaries for inexperienced flight dispatchers in the UK are under £20,000 per year but can quickly rise depending on the size of the airport and the candidates abilities and experience. If you have an interest in aviation and want to work around aircraft then this job might be the ideal choice.

The answer to the question ‘What do airline pilots do?‘ may seem obvious. They fly the aircraft and post selfies on Instagram. That’s right, isn’t it? Well, there’s a little more to it than that.

What do airline pilots do

For a start, any pilot is part of a crew, usually of two on short haul routes. There will be a Captain, the senior pilot who has overall responsibility for the flight. The Captain’s responsibilities include not only the practicalities of the flight itself but also the safety of all crew and passengers.

He or she will be supported by a First Officer, a less experienced pilot. They will share the flying duties in order to give each other rest breaks. Long haul flights may have three or even four pilots aboard.

Duties & Responsibilities

All pilots will be familiar with the processes required to carry out the following pre and post flight checks:

  • Gathering all information about the aircraft, the crew, the passengers or cargo, and the weather both en route and at the destination airport.
  • Create a flight plan based on that information and calculate the correct altitude and fuel required for the flight.
  • Supervise the loading of the fuel and ensure the operation of the aircraft maximises fuel efficiency.
  • Carry out pre flight checks on all the safety systems on the aircraft.
  • Carry out pre flight checks on all the instruments and navigation systems.
  • Communicate with Air Traffic Control before the aircraft leaves the gate, during taxi, and after departure.
  • Conduct a pre flight briefing with the cabin crew.

During the briefing the Captain will summarise the flight time, gate number, taxi duration, altitude of flight, and any significant weather en route.

During The Flight Itself

  • Abide by any noise abatement procedures during departure.
  • Maintain regular contact with the cabin crew throughout the flight.
  • Make and maintain contact with the appropriate air traffic controllers en route.
  • Monitor and understand the aircraft’s navigational and control instruments.
  • Regularly check the aircraft’s performance and its position relative to the planned route.
  • Regularly check the weather for any changes and check on the location of other aircraft in the vicinity.
  • Keep the passengers informed about the progress of the flight and any deviations from the schedule.

If there are any changes in the weather or if there are any on board emergencies the flight crew will need to react quickly and efficiently.

Post Flight Procedures

  • Update the aircraft’s logbook with the hours flown and other data.
  • Compile a report about the flight itself and include any irregularities with the aircraft or any incidents that occurred.

For air crew there is about an hour of work on the ground after the flight.

Hours and Shifts

Being an airline pilot is not a 9 to 5 job and a large degree of flexibility is required. Pilots will often live within a short commute time of their base airport in case they’re needed at short notice to cover absent pilots. However, the airlines appreciate that everyone needs to be able to plan ahead and so they’ll inform their pilots on short haul routes of their shift patterns well in advance. For long haul pilots there are often single nights or perhaps a few days away from home with travel through various time zones.

There are limits to the amount of hours a pilot can fly in any day and in total throughout the year. The regulations vary around the world but for European airlines the regulations state that pilots should not fly more than:

  • 60 duty hours in any 7 consecutive days;
  • 110 duty hours in any 14 consecutive days; and
  • 190 duty hours in any 28 consecutive days, spread as evenly as practicable throughout that period.

Long haul pilots who travel through time zones will take rest breaks away from the cockpit, often in crew bunk beds.

What do airline pilots earn?

Salaries vary according to the size of the airline, the aircraft type, and the pilot’s experience. Here in the UK, a recently qualified First Officer for a small, regional airline can expect a starting salary of around £25,000 pa. Larger airlines may offer more and the salaries will eventually increase in proportion to the experience. For example, more experienced First Officers can look forward to £36,000 to £48,000 pa.

Once you’ve been promoted to Captain you can expect a salary of £57,000 to £78,000 for a medium sized airline. If your employer is one of the major operators then salaries of between £97,000 and £140,000 or more are the industry norm.

What Do Airline Pilots Do? More Information

Pilots are regularly tested to ensure they maintain the necessary skills required to fulfil all their responsibilities. They also have to maintain a Class 1 Medical certificate in order to keep their licences valid.

To find out more read our our other post, “How to become an airline pilot“.

While forecasters may disagree on the number of vacancies, and despite the impact on the aviation industry of apandemic, it seems highly likely that the demand for commercial pilots will continue for many years to come. If you are young, ambitious, and you have the financial backing then there are opportunities for those reaching for the sky.

You may have seen TV documentaries like the one about EasyJet in which young recruits are put through their paces in the right hand seat of the cockpit of an Airbus A320. Here they hope to demonstrate that they do have the required skills to become a permanent member of the crew. Once they have passed the final tests they can look forward to a career path that leads to the position of Captain, and perhaps one day, Instructor.

To reach this point they have gone through months of training and spent a great deal of money. Depending on the route taken and your own personal aptitude the final figure is likely to be around £100, 000 from ab initio to ‘frozen’ (f) ATPL. There are two paths you can take, the integrated and the modular route. The integrated route is the full time study method in which you fully immerse yourself in flying and study until you reach your goal about 18 months later. The big advantage of this path is the continuity of study and training.

The modular route allows candidates to study and train at their own pace. The advantage of this path is that it allows flexibility in planning and financing, with breaks in which to earn money for the next stage.

Here then is a summary of the steps taken on either path. Of course, this is only a summary that will give you a rough idea of what’s required. For the details you are strongly advised to do your own research, consult the Civil Aiviation Authority website (or equivalent for your country) , and talk to flight instructors, and of course qualified airline pilots.

As with all things in aviation the onus is on you to check the latest information, whether that is the weather, aeronautical charts, or training requirements.

First Steps To A Commercial Pilot’s Licence

The first step for any aspiring airline pilot is to pass a Class 1 CAA medical examination. There is little point in dreaming of a career in commercial aviation if you are unable to pass this essential test of your physiological condition. This is a very thorough examination that includes eyesight and hearing tests.

The next step is to obtain a Private Pilots Licence. If you have no flying experience at all then you’ll need to complete a minimum of 45 hours of training of which 5 can be on an approved flight simulator. Those 45 hours should include 25 hours of dual flight i.e. with an instructor. You will also need to include 10 hours of solo flight.

Five of these ten hours should be solo cross-country flight. One of those cross-country flights should be of at least 270 NM in total with two full stop landings at two different aerodromes to that of your departure point. This is commonly known as the Qualifying Cross Country (QXC).

Aviators with previous flying experience and perhaps existing lesser licences should check the PPL requirements with the CAA and their Chief Flying Instructor. The 45 hours is a minimum and most students will take longer than that to meet the required standards so always budget for more hours than the minimum. However long it takes you to complete all the required air training you will also need to pass all the multiple choice ground school exams.

Finally, you will need to pass the Skills Test which consists of about 90 minutes of scrutiny of your flying skills by an examiner.

After the PPL, on to the Commercial Licence

Having obtained the PPL the candidate now needs to consolidate what was learned and to expand on those new skills. This would be the ideal time to add a Night Qualification to the licence. This can be achieved after 5 hours training under instruction during the hours of darkness. Now comes the time to hour build i.e. fly more solo, navigate to other airfields, and generally gain as much experience as possible.

It’s vital at this stage to maintain the momentum and build confidence. This air time is not just about improving flying skills but also in decision making and being in every sense of the phrase the Pilot in Command. If they’re not already there many candidates jet off to hour build in places like Florida or Australia where the skies are big, blue, and generally less congested than the grey skies of Europe. The PPL holder will need to complete about 100 hours during the hour building phase. So the budget for this will need to include not just the aircraft hire rates but accommodation, food, travel, and landing fees.

Next, the private pilot can start studying for the ATPL (Air Transport Pilot’s Licence) theory exams. There are fourteen of these, all multiple choice. The study syllabus can be completed by distant learning, or by part or full time attendance at an appropriate centre.

So by now you are a confident private pilot with 100 or more hours of solo time in your logbook. Your ATPL Theory exams are in the bag and things are progressing well. Your next three steps can be taken in any order.

You’ll need an Instrument Rating so that you can fly in poor weather by reference to the cockpit instruments alone. Again, this requires a substantial amount of training, 55 hours in total. As well as the cost of the training there will be other expenses such as approach and landing fees.

You will also need a Commercial Pilots Licence or CPL. To obtain this you’ll need a further minimum of 25 hours of training. This training includes learning to operate more complex aircraft with retractable undercarriage and variable pitch propellers. Once achieved you’ll be able to fly for ‘hire or reward’.

The third step is the multi-engine rating. Typically this will involve a minimum of six hours training on a light twin-engine aircraft, plus a further set of ground school exams with the inevitable hours of study and tuition.

By now you have a CPL/IR with a multi-engine and night qualification. You have a valid Class I medical and passes in all the ATPL theory exams.

Your next two tasks are to complete the MCC or Multi-Crew Cooperation course and the Jet Orientation course. Both of these courses can be completed in commercial simulators. The MCC course is designed to enhance your awareness of being part of the team in the cockpit. As the title suggests the JOC course is designed to familiarise you with the processes and controls of jet aircraft.

Having emptied your wallet (or drained the Bank of Mum & Dad) you are now ready to occupy a position within an airline as a junior officer. With so much money at stake it is essential that you protect your investment in yourself by spending it with reputable and authorised training organisations. Do your research thoroughly and visit the establishments before signing any agreements and handing over your funds. Always pay in installments rather than large lump sums.

In this post I’m going to talk about the salaries that Flight Dispatchers can expect in various countries around the globe. I’ll describe the salary range you can expect from junior to senior positions in the countries where jobs are plentiful. Then I’ll conclude this post with a few tips on how to get started on your career.

Aircraft or Flight Dispatchers are essential to the smooth running of any airport. Every commercial aircraft that takes off from an airport requires a team of people who ensure its departure is safe and on time. Flight Dispatchers are responsible for coordinating all the services and preparations required to ensure an aircraft leaves on schedule.

Flight Dispatchers start their shifts with checks on the status of the weather both current and forecast and for both the aircraft routes and destinations. For this reason, Flight Dispatchers need to be able to confidently interpret weather data, NOTAMs, and other forms of information relating to aircraft in flight. They arrange the cleaning of passenger aircraft and the loading of cargo aircraft. They arrange for the refuelling, routine maintenance checks, and any ad hoc servicing that may be required on the aircraft.

As with most jobs, pay and benefits are commensurate with experience and responsibilities, and Flight Dispatcher positions are no exception.

The following figures are averages collected in late 2018. They are base salaries so they don’t include any bonuses, overtime, or profit shares that may be offered. This is an important point to remember because such extras can make a significant difference to your take-home pay.

  • Australia, the national average is AU$55,000 Australian Dollars.
  • Canada, C$35,000 rising to C$57,000 Canadian Dollars.
  • Dubai, AED14,000 rising to AED208,000 Arab Emirate Dirhams.
  • Egypt, national average is 114,00 Egyptian Pounds. Germany, the national average is €17,000 Euros.
  • India, Rs 407,000 rising to Rs 1,000,000 Rupees.
  • Malaysia, national average is 135,000 Ringgits.
  • New Zealand, national average is  101,000 New Zealand Dollars.
  • South Africa, national average is 342,000 Rand.
  • United Kingdom, £15,000 rising to £47,000 Pounds Sterling.
  • United States, $30,000 rising to $91,000 US Dollars.

How to become an Aircraft or Flight Dispatcher

The requirements for the role of Flight Dispatcher or Flight Operations Officer   may vary from country to country but some things are common to all. Candidates need to have an appreciation of the following subjects. The more proficient they are in one or more of these skills the more chance they have of securing a position. Meteorology, Air Traffic Control, Communications, Airspace, Aerodynamics, Aircraft Systems, Weight and Balance, Minimum Equipment Lists, Emergency Procedures,

Security, International Operations, Regulations, Icing, Flight Planning, Dispatch Resource Management, and Practical Dispatching. Candidates will also need to be familiar with Flight Dispatch or Airport Operations software tools. These might include flight planning systems, crew scheduling,  aircraft performance analysis, and other related products pertaining to aircraft and airport operations.

Employers are looking for the relevant qualifications or work experience among those who started in a junior position within airfield operations. The IATA website lists dozens of suitable short courses suitable for those seeking knowledge and certification in airport operations. See: iata.org/training/.

As your career progresses you can specialise in an area or simply take on more responsibilities for managing resources, that could lead you into a managerial path that leads eventually to positions like Director of Operations. The skills and experience gained in these roles are transportable giving you the option of applying for vacancies globally. One thing is for certain; as long as the aviation industry remains buoyant there will be demand for Flight Dispatchers, and if you’re a specialist the demand and the rewards will be higher.

In this post I’m going to briefly describe the pros and cons of becoming a Flight Attendant.

The growing demand for air travel is creating fresh opportunities for anyone who wants to work in aviation. If you are planning to start an aviation career as a member of the Cabin Crew then this post is for you.

In 2015 Boeing predicated that the global aviation industry would need over half a million new pilots in the next twenty years. For every two members of the air crew in the cockpit the number of Flight Attendants will be proportional to the size of the aircraft.

Many Flight Attendants past and present have explained the advantages and disadvantages of the job. Here is a summary of what some of them have explained are the main pros and cons of this career.

The main role of Cabin Crew is to ensure the safety of passengers. Everything else, including fetching drinks or holding someone’s baby, is secondary to this task. Airline travel is very safe indeed but on the rare occasion there is an accident the crew are there to ensure the safe evacuation of the aircraft as quickly as possible, so although crew are trained and ready for emergencies their day to day tasks include some that are enjoyable and others that are a test of patience and personality.

Cabin Crew – The Main Advantages

You will of course travel to many destinations and spend a few days in each. As you travel you’ll be able to broaden your mind meeting new people and learning about other cultures. All this travel might inspire you to learn another language or supplement your training with specialisation courses.

You will probably receive layover and accommodation pay and other financial perks of the job. When you go on holiday yourself you will probably be able to save money on airfares and pass on some discounts to your family. There is still a certain glamour attached to the idea of being in that uniform and many find the profession appealing for this reason.

You could find yourself moving into the five star world of private jets with all the pay and benefits that come with it. You might meet many famous, inspiring or interesting people, and not just in First Class.

Your uniform is provided for you so you don’t have to think about what to wear each day and you don’t wear out your own clothes. There is a great deal of variety in terms of fellow crew members and destinations, so there’s less risk of the boredom of routine.

You can develop a career path within the aviation industry that can last a lifetime. By being a writer, blogger or vlogger you can earn extra income telling stories and passing on your advice to newcomers.

Cabin Crew – The Main Disadvantages

Just as the passengers can be interesting and fun some will be hard work and you will have your patience tested. You may have to clean up after both adults and children. The shifts and the jet lag can play havoc with your sleep patterns. Interrupted sleep and lack of freshly cooked meals may have an adverse effect on your mood and health.

Despite the variations the life can become routine depending on the airline and the routes. With some airlines the pay is low and industrial action is sometimes a fact of life for some Cabin Crew. Long term relationships can suffer when one partner is frequently away.

The responsibilities of Flight Attendants mean that the training can be difficult for some. You are likely to miss important dates in your family calendar and you will have to turn down invitations from friends from time to time.

These are just some of the main pros and cons. If you search YouTube you will find Flight Attendants explaining the things they love and those they hate about the job. Once you have earned your wings and you are working in the airline industry you’ll be able to look around for the position that suits you best. This might be short haul or long haul depending on your wants and needs.

When you have spent a few years flying you might leave aviation altogether or take a ground based position for the same airline. Perhaps you will become a Cabin Crew trainer or take on some other role within the company.

If you are drawn to this career then consider these and other advantages then approach the airlines for advice. Look out for their next recruitment drives and take the plunge.

In this post I’m going to talk about the pay and perks of being a VIP Flight Attendant and a member of the cabin crew on any private jet.

Would you like to travel the world in private aircraft, stay in the best hotels, mix with the super rich, and get paid to do so? Such ideas are what attract Flight Attendants to roles within business aviation and VIP hospitality.

However, as I’m sure you already know, such positions are only open to the select few with the right skills and experience. There are the Flight Attendants who work on private aircraft that ferry heads of industry and senior members of corporations from capital to capital. Then there are Flight Attendants whose passengers are wealthy individuals who use their own or rented private jets for the convenience and privacy that they provide.

So one thing that most, if not all these passengers have in common is the fact they are very wealthy, they regard time as a precious commodity, and they value discretion and privacy. Consequently, they need Flight Attendants who are discrete, efficient, and professional in every way. They may request that their pilots and cabin crew sign non-disclosure agreements, so you might have to forget blogging or vlogging about your travels and clients.

The clue is in the title; a private jet is not a public space, so the Flight Attendants need to keep in mind that what they see and hear is not to be disclosed elsewhere. Sometimes this is to protect the privacy of the individual and their families but it could also be because business meetings are held aboard that discretion is required.

The aircraft involved range from small business jets (bizjets) with limited seating and amenities, to airliners containing lounge areas, bedrooms, and bathrooms. You’ll quickly become familiar with Learjets, Cessna Citations, Embraers, Gulfstreams, and perhaps privately owned airliners like a Boeing 777 or even a 747.

For the ultra wealthy price is no object so the Flight Attendant should not be intimidated by ostentatious displays of wealth, expensive equipment, and famous people. Serving food and drink aboard such aircraft requires skills that can only be acquired by diligent effort and experience. You’ll be expected to prepare and serve dishes to the highest standards with presentation worthy of a Michelin star restaurant. Communication and language skills are important and knowledge of the protocols and customs of various nationalities is a great asset.

Those that succeed among the elite of cabin crew are often those with a wide range of skills. First Aid, CPR, and any other knowledge useful in a medical emergency are an asset.

Private jet Flight Attendants will often act as a Personal Assistant; booking, arranging, sourcing, and collecting for their clients. Perks of the job include large cash tips, exclusive tickets to events, and expensive fashion accessories given as gifts.

Base salaries are in the region of $55-65,000 but they vary greatly according to client and employer. Regular pay increases and annual bonuses are not uncommon so the package is very attractive. Being a member of the entourage may mean that you stay at the same top hotels and enjoy all the facilities that they offer, but in return you’ll be expected to be on call at short notice for sudden departures. This often means that you cannot plan your time or give commitments to others and this can put a strain on your social and personal life.

Flight Attendants also need to be selective in their choice of employer and contracts. Occasionally a client may overstep the boundaries of respect and professionalism by making inappropriate suggestions or making totally unacceptable demands. This means the Flight Attendant needs to be assertive enough to reject the advance and reaffirm the boundaries.

The rewards for these positions are high and therefore there is strong competition. Vacancies are few and the best jobs are not advertised at all. It’s more a case of knowing the right people and being ready to grab the opportunity with both hands.

There is little job security either so you need to keep in mind that you may be working elsewhere a year ahead. Another advantage of this role is the fact that you probably won’t have a supervisor breathing down your neck. You’ll be in charge or working closely with a few colleagues. So if you aspire to a position like this then acquire the skills described, gain the experience in Business & First Class cabins, and do your research into employers, positions, and packages around the world.

In this post I’m going to list some of the options available to you if you aspire to be an Aircraft Maintenance Engineer (AME). This is a follow up to the previous “Aircraft Engineer” post. It was clear from the response to it that there is a need for clarification on this subject so this post has been writtem to answer more questions.

I will list the courses available in various countries around the globe but first let’s summarise what we mean by Aircraft Maintenance Engineer (AME) or Licensed Aircraft Maintenance Engineer (LAME).

Just as pilots and air traffic controllers need to be licenced in order to operate safely so too do aviation engineers or technicians. The term engineer and technician mean the same thing in the aviation industry.

The technicians and engineers who service aircraft carry out crucial tasks that must be of the highest standards so it follows that they need to be trained by approved training organisations, and licensed by the national aviation authority in the country in which they operate. Some of these licences are recognised globally by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) but there are regional variations too.

Here are some definitions of the licence types and their requirements. These are specific to countries governed by the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) so check with your national civil aviation authority for any variations.

A Ramp or Line Maintenance Certifying Mechanic is someone with a Category A Licence obtained after a six month approved course and one year of certified experience. This enables them to carry out minor maintenance tasks and part replacements on operational aircraft between major servicing, and to certify the work done. Candidates can also study in their own time or choose a modular course, in which case they would need three years of certified experience in order to qualify.

Category A engineers can elect to specialise in these subjects:

  • A1 Fixed Wing Aircraft with Turbine Engines.
  • A2 Fixed Wing Aircraft with Piston Engines.
  • A3 Rotary Wing Helicopters with Turbine Engines.
  • A4 Rotary Wing Helicopters with Piston Engines.

To carry out more complex tasks, major overhauls and re-fits you need be a licenced Base Maintenance Certifying Technician. For this you need a Category B licence which can be obtained after a two year approved course and two years of certified experience. You can also obtain this through self study or a modular course but you would need five years of certified experience to qualify.

There are various specialisations for Category B licences too, and these are: B1.1 Fixed Wing Aircraft with Turbine Engines. B1.2 Fixed Wing Aircraft with Piston Engines.

  • B1.3 Rotary Wing Helicopters with Turbine Engines.
  • B1.4 Rotary Wing Helicopters with Piston Engines.
  • B2 Avionic Electronic systems fitted to all aircraft.

Here then are some approved training institutions offering Aircraft Maintenance Engineering courses.

Aircraft Maintenance Engineering Courses in Australia

Aviation Australia (aviationaustralia.aero) is a good place to start looking. As well as their main campus in Brisbane they also provide training through their partners for Sri Lankan and Malaysian students in Colombo and Kuala Lumpur.

Aircraft Maintenance Engineering Courses in Canada

Fanshawe College (fanshawec.ca) provides three Diploma and Advanced Diploma courses in Avionics and Mechanics.

Aircraft Maintenance Engineering Courses in Germany

Aviation Technical Training (avtt.de) offer basic courses and type ratings for several Embraers types, Bombardier Dash 8s, Cessna 525s, and Learjets.

Aircraft Maintenance Engineering Courses in India

There are numerous colleges with multiples of options in India. A good place to look is on Shiksha.com. On the home page, click on the Careers tab and then enter Aircraft Maintenance Engineer as your search term. Alternatively, using the top menu navigate to Engineering, Popular Specializations, Aircraft Maintenance.

Aircraft Maintenance Engineering Courses in New Zealand

The Air New Zealand Aviation Institute (aviationinstitute.co.nz) offers courses to school leavers and those new to the aviation industry. It also offers advanced courses for type rating on a range of Airbus, Boeing, and Bombardier types.

Aircraft Maintenance Engineering Courses in Sri Lanka

The Sri Lankan Aviation College (srilankanaviationcollege.com) offers several courses in Aviation Maintenance, and EASA Part 66 B1.1 and B1.2.

Aircraft Maintenance Engineering Courses in the UK

Air Service Training (airservicetraining.co.uk) offer lots of courses and they also work in partnership with institutions in India, Nepal, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Indonesia, Jordan, Malaysia, and Iceland.

Aircraft Maintenance Engineering Courses in the USA

As you would expect of a country of this size and with aviation playing such a prominent role in America, there are dozens of places to study. Try StudyUSA.com and visit this page of results: studyusa.com/en/field-of-study/522/aviation-maintenance. Scroll to the footer to select the site in a different language.

In this post I’m going to list the salaries and training for Avionics Technicians. I’ll describe the salary range you can expect in various countries around the globe. Then I’ll conclude this post with a few tips on how to get started on your training in the UK, India, and the USA.

Avionics Technicians are essential to the aviation and aerospace industries. They specialise in the installation, maintenance, and repair of the electronic components that make us so much of modern aircraft.

You may see any one of these terms used to describe the same role; Aircraft Electrical Systems Specialist, Avionics Electronics Technician, Aviation Electrical Technician, Avionics Electrical Technician, Aircraft Navigation/Communications Systems Technician, Avionics Bench Technician, Aircraft Bench Technician.

Avionics Technicians are responsible for installing the wiring, instrumentation, and software throughout the aircraft. This could include anything from flight instruments to passenger entertainment systems.

Avionics Technicians remove malfunctioning instruments and install new ones in both fixed and rotary wing aircraft. The instruments in need of repair will be sent to the Aircraft Bench Technicians who will examine and troubleshoot the device. They will then test those repairs to ensure the instruments are functioning correctly before they are used again on operational aircraft. The work of Avionics Technicians has a direct effect on the safety of aircraft, the crew, and the passengers, so it is a responsible position that requires skilled personnel.

As with most careers, pay and benefits are commensurate with experience and responsibilities. The following figures are annual averages collected late in 2018. They are base salaries so they don’t include any bonuses, overtime, or profit shares that may be offered. This is an important point to remember because such extras can make a significant difference to your take-home pay.

  • Australia, AU$55,000 rising to AU$96,000 Australian Dollars.
  • Canada, C$43,000 rising to C$80,000 Canadian Dollars.
  • Dubai, AED 58,000 rising to AED 473,000 Arab Emirate Dirhams.
  • India, Rs 256,000 rising to Rs 2,000,000 Rupees.
  • Philippines, PHP 180,000 rising to PHP 707,000 Philippine Pesos.
  • South Africa, R63,000 rising to R408,000 Rand.
  • United Kingdom, £23,000 rising to £37,000 Pounds Sterling.
  • United States, $25,000 rising to $72,000 US Dollars.

How to become an Avionics Technician

With so much of their work involving electronics it is obvious that a strong aptitude in this field is a must but so too are communication skills, attention to detail, critical thinking, and a logical and methodical mindset. Avionics Technicians tend to be people who can patiently troubleshoot problems to find the root cause, and carry out delicate repairs on sensitive instruments.

Many technicians start their career in the Armed Forces. The training and experience gained while working on complex military aircraft is second to none. For example, training in the British Army can lead to a Level 2 Advanced Apprenticeship in Engineering Manufacture, Level 3 Diploma in Engineering Technology, or a Bachelor of Science Degree (BSc) in Electronic Systems Engineering. Similarly, Aircraft Technicians (Avionics) can earn an average of £30,409 per year in the Royal Air Force.

Some technicians find job placements having completed further education and having obtained a bachelor’s degree in aviation engineering, aerospace engineering or electrical engineering. Others join apprenticeship schemes having obtained passes in English, Maths, and Science at high or secondary school level. They are then trained as part of vocational training schemes until suitably qualified and experienced.

The following website lists universities in the UK that offer Pilot and Aviation Studies degree courses, including some relevant to those seeking degrees in avionics and aerospace systems engineering: flightdeckfriend.com/university-pilot-degree-course.

Here is a list of institutions offering training in India.

  • In Pune, the Indian Institute for Aeronautical Engineering and Information Technology (www.iiaeit.org), and the Wingsss College of Aviation Technology (www.wcat.in).
  • In Bangalore, the A. J. Aviation Academy, and the Hindustan Aviation Academy (www.hindustanacademy.edu.in).
  • In Mumbai, the Indian Aviation Academy (www.iaa.edu.in).
  • In Hyderabad, the Rajiv Gandhi Aviation Academy (www.rgaviation.com).
  • In Ahmedabad, Ahmedabad Aviation and Aeronautics (www.aaa.co.in).
  • In New Delhi, the Indian Institute of Aeronautics (ww.iiagroup.co.in).
  • And in Jamshedpur, the Indian Institute of Aeronautical Science.

Here is a list of some of the many colleges offering training in the USA.

  • Arizona State University, Cochise County Community College, and Enterprise State Community College in Arizona.
  • Henderson State University in Arkansas.
  • San Jose State University in California.
  • Guilford Technical College, North Carolina.
  • Delaware State University.
  • Ivy Tech Community College, Indiana.
  • Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University and Florida State College in Florida.
  • Middle Georgia State University, Georgia.
  • University of Nebraska.
  • Ohio State University.
  • Pennsylvania College of Technology and Pittsburgh Institute of Aeronautics in Pennsylvania.
  • North Central Institute, Tennessee.
  • Hallmark University, Texas.
  • And Utah State University.

In this post I’m going to list the pay averages that Flight Attendants and Cabin Crew can expect in various airlines around the world. I’ll list the salaries first, then summarise the role and its responsibilities, and conclude with some tips on getting started and your career prospects. If you are a current or ex-Flight Attendant please help others by posting a comment with your best tips for starting and succeeding in this career.

The following figures were collected in January 2019. At the time the average salary for cabin crew in the UK was about £17,000 – £29,000 GBP per year. The following salaries are for airlines based in the UK and are annual average ranges in Pounds Sterling.

  • British Airways (BA) £12,000 – £30,000 GBP.
  • British Midland (BMI) £15,000 – £29,000 GBP.
  • EasyJet £10,000 – £23,000 GBP.
  • Jet2.com £10,000 – £23,000 GBP.
  • Norwegian Air Shuttle £12,000 – £15,000 GBP.
  • Ryanair £10,000 – £24,000 GBP.
  • Thomas Cook £12,000 – £27,000 GBP.
  • TUI Group £12,000 – £14,000 GBP.
  • Virgin Atlantic Airways £9,000 – £16,000 GBP.

The following annual averages are for airlines based in the USA and are in US Dollars. These figures include bonuses and other compensation.

  • AirTran Airways $35,000 USD.
  • Alaska Airlines $56,000 USD.
  • Allegiant Travel Company $31,000 USD.
  • American Airlines $39,000 USD.
  • Continental Airlines $29,000 USD.
  • Delta Airlines $49,000 USD.
  • ExpressJet Airlines $31,000 USD.
  • Frontier Airlines $19,000 USD.
  • JetBlue Airways $38,000 USD.
  • Mesa Airlines $21,000 USD.
  • Piedmont Airlines $23,000 USD.
  • PSA Airlines $18,000 USD.
  • Republic Airways $26,000 USD.
  • SkyWest Airlines $21,000 USD.
  • Southwest Airlines $51,000 USD.
  • Spirit Airlines $45,000 USD.
  • Trans States Airlines $20,000 USD.
  • United Airlines $44,000 USD.
  • US Airways $34,000 USD.
  • World Airways $49,000 USD.

In Canada a flight attendant can expect to earn between C$23,000 and C$60,000 before bonuses and other compensation. For example, the average for Air Canada has been quoted at $54,000 CAD.

Middle East and other airlines

These are annual salary averages in UAE dirhams.

  • Air Arabia 120,000dhs dirhams.
  • flydubai 144,000dhs dirhams.
  • Emirates 78,000 – 180,000dhs dirhams.
  • Singapore Airlines 120,000dhs dirhams.
  • Responsibilities of a Flight Attendant.

Flight Attendants are required on any commercial flight that has more than 19 passengers aboard. One Flight Attendant is required for every 50 passengers.

On large aircraft there is usually a hierarchy of cabin crew which might include; a Purser, and a Chief Purser sometimes also called In-flight Service Manager, Flight Service Manager, Customer Service Manager,  or Cabin Service Director.

The Flight Attendants’ primary role is the safety of the passengers but as we all know they have many other responsibilities too.

Flight Attendants start their shifts with a briefing given by the Captain of the flight in which he or she summarises the route, the aircraft, the weather, and any other relevant information relating to the aircraft and the passengers. Once they have been briefed the Flight Attendants will start checking the equipment aboard the aircraft to ensure it is all present, serviceable, and re-supplied where necessary.

During the flight they ensure the safety and comfort of passengers. In the event of any type of emergency, minor or major, they are trained to respond.

Cabin Crew Pay By Country

  • Australia, between AU$36,000 and  AU$64,000 Australian Dollars.
  • Canada, C$12,000 rising to C$38,000 Canadian Dollars.
  • Dubai, AED35,000 rising to AED234,000 Arab Emirate Dirhams.
  • Egypt, E£68,000 rising to E£117,000 Egyptian Pounds. Germany, €11,000 rising to €27,000 Euros.
  • India, Rs209,000 rising to Rs908,000 Rupees.
  • Malaysia, RM1,000 rising to RM106,000 Ringgits.
  • New Zealand, $35,000 rising to  $60,000 New Zealand Dollars.
  • South Africa, R60,000 rising to R304,000 Rand.
  • United Kingdom, £13,000 rising to £41,000 Pounds Sterling.
  • United States, $21,000 rising to $74,000 US Dollars.

How to become a Flight Attendant

The requirements for the role of Flight Attendant are fairly standard throughout the aviation industry all around the globe. Due to a high turnover of staff the airlines have to recruit and train new cabin crew frequently, so look out for news of recruitment drives by the airlines of your choice.

Obviously you’ll need to be energetic, able to communicate clearly, and quick to learn a variety of new skills that will be taught during training. Airlines are looking for people with good customer service skills. If you can speak two or more languages it’s a distinct advantage.

A Flight Attendant is an ambassador for the airline and its brand so personal appearance and grooming is very important. Employers are looking for a professional image and they are not keen on visible tattoos or overt piercings.

After 3-6 weeks of training and passing several tests you will be assigned to your first route. There is likely to be further tests and training as your career progresses. As you gain experience, perhaps on short haul flights to begin with, you can add to it with long haul flights and looking after Club & First Class passengers. In time you may gain promotion with all the added responsibilities and pay increases. The skills and experience gained will enable you to transfer to other roles within any other airline too.

One thing is for certain; as long as the aviation industry remains buoyant there will be demand for Flight Attendants, particularly for those with a track record for reliability, punctuality, and professionalism.

Prospects for Flight Attendants

If you remain working as a Flight Attendant you can work your way up the the company ladder or move about within the airlines. You’ll gain experience, learn new skills, and perhaps learn a second or third language. Your options will increase and you could be rewarded with promotions or moving into the role of a VIP or Corporate Flight Attendant.

Alternatively, you could cease flying but continue to work for the airlines in a ground based role with more regular hours. Outside of the airlines you could use your skills in another role within, for example, the hotel or the cruise ship industry. So you may start on low pay with long anti-social hours but the training and experience make you a very employable person in the years to come.

A few final tips about Cabin Crew careers

If you intend to move to another airline be sure to do your research first. Search for reviews of the airline written by current or ex-employees on job seeker websites.

Note that the culture and attitude toward Flight Attendants varies, particularly from country to country. Some airlines demand strict behaviour and even enforce curfews on their staff. They can also show an unreasonable lack of tolerance regarding even the smallest of errors, and no job security.

So be certain before you move to a new airline that it’s the right choice by taking into account all the things you take for granted with your current employer.

Good luck with your career!

Air traffic control jobs are available for anyone seeking a first or second career in aviation.  The demand has been created by both the natural churn of controllers and the growth in the aviation industry.

Air Traffic Controllers are responsible for the safe and expeditious movement of aircraft in and around airports and other high traffic areas. They coordinate take-offs and landings and make sure all the aircraft stay a safe distance apart. Controllers communicate with pilots during flights to direct them during take-off and landing and to tell them about their route, weather conditions, runway closures, and other important information.

The main purpose of air traffic control is to help pilots to fly their aircraft safely to their destinations. The job is also important for minimizing delays at the airport. Air Traffic Controllers help aircraft arrive and leave as smoothly and quickly as possible while remaining within safety parameters.

What’s it like to be an Air Traffic Controller?

Air traffic controllers usually work in control facilities or towers and consequently since most are responsible for aircraft take-offs and landings ATC towers are usually within the airfield boundary, but some air traffic control facilities may be located miles away from the nearest airport. Some control facilities may be semi-dark, in order to enhance concentration on the information displayed on screens.

Air traffic control jobs are essential, but they can be stressful at times. Controllers usually work eight-hour shifts, during which a lot of concentration is required. Aircraft fly at all hours of the day and night, so Air Traffic Controllers may have to switch between day and night shifts, or work on weekends and holidays. The Federal Aviation Authority limits shifts to 10 hours and requires that controllers have at least 9 hours of rest between shifts.

How to Become an Air Traffic Controller

One way to become an air traffic controller in the USA is to get an Associate’s or Bachelor’s degree from an approved Air Traffic Collegiate Training Initiative program. There are 36 schools in the United States that offer AT-CTI programs. You can also become a controller if you have at least three years of work experience, a bachelor’s degree in another field, or a combination of the two.

According to the Federal Aviation Authority, one year of college or 30 semester hours is equal to nine months of work experience. To begin a career in air traffic control in the United States, you must be younger than 31 years of age. You also must complete training at the Federal Aviation Authority Academy in Oklahoma City, pass a pre-employment test, and undergo a medical exam.

In the UK you can become an air traffic controller through trainee schemes run by NATS (National Air Traffic Services). To be eligible for consideration you’ll need a minimum of 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 or equivalent qualifications, including English and Maths. Training takes place at the NATS centre near Fareham in Hampshire. Ab initio training lasts up to a year and there is likely to be more training as your career develops. If you’ve got experience as a military air traffic controller, or military or commercial pilot then you may also apply for a position. Career Prospects for Air Traffic Controllers.

As of 2018, there were about 26,000 air traffic controllers working in the United States. In the UK there are currently about 1,700 Controllers  employed by NATS. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that the number of air traffic control jobs will grow by 3 percent by 2026. The field is highly competitive with many candidates applying for each opening, but jobs do open up fairly regularly as air traffic controllers are eligible to retire earlier than most people.

Salaries for Air Traffic Controllers

In 2018, the median salary for air traffic controllers in the USA was $124,540. The highest 10 percent of workers earned over $175,800, and the lowest 10 percent of workers earned less than $67,440.

In the UK trainees can expect to earn about £17,000 per annum rising to £30-40,000 pa once fully qualified. These are base salary figures and don’t include shift allowances, overtime, and bonuses. Senior controllers at Heathrow and Swanwick can earn up to £100,000 pa.

To be eligible to beome an Air Traffic Controller in India you’ll need a degree in either engineering, electronics, or electrical disciplines. Candidates should be aged between 21 and 27 and can expect to earn a salary of 40,000 Rupees per month as trainees. Your salary depends on your years of experience, the location of your facility, and the complexity of your flight paths. As you complete extra levels of on-the-job training, your salary may increase.

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