Schedulers & Dispatchers committed to meeting today’s challenges while looking to the future
By Ed Bolen
President & CEO, NBAA
As we all look eagerly toward the year ahead, it’s important to note that, while 2020 was certainly a time in which we all faced unique, daunting, and at times seemingly relentless challenges, it was also a year marked by innovation and resilience across our industry and throughout the world.
Schedulers and dispatchers (S&Ds) have showcased those qualities during our Covid times. They are truly the hub of any flight operation, and are known for their dedication, professionalism, and creativity in flight planning.
That has certainly remained true as they’ve adapted to a host of unusual circumstances over the past 10 months. And while 2021 also looks to be a bit different than what was once “normal,” it’s important to note that our industry’s S&D community continues to focus on meeting the challenges, not only in our current environment, but also looking toward the future.
S&Ds have always been at the forefront of new technologies and their potential applications in our industry. S&D personnel have always kept close track of developments that allow them to share the latest information, to plan, dispatch, and monitor flight activity more efficiently, and to manage operations in a safe and secure environment.
Certainly, this has been been the case over the past year. As we’ve all relied on virtual communication in place of in-person interactions, it’s also been front-and-center in the lives of schedulers, allowing these vital employees to continue seamlessly with their duties outside the office or hangar environment.
Virtual communication has also enabled the S&D community to meet regularly in virtual networking happy hours, in which dozens of S&Ds gather online for important conversations, both formal and informal, to share guidance and best practices throughout this admittedly unusual time.
At the same time, S&Ds are also working to ensure the future of our industry, including through their commitment to addressing workforce issues throughout business aviation.
Covid-19 has temporarily affected the hiring shortages faced by many flight operations, but we know that this situation may be reversed easily in the near future, and the pipeline of new and qualified personnel must be maintained.
Meeting our industry’s workforce challenges is among the priorities of NBAA’s Schedulers & Dispatchers Committee – a group focused on promoting education, networking, and engagement throughout the S&D community and across our industry.
All of these are also important themes at NBAA’s annual gatherings, including NBAA’s Schedulers & Dispatchers Conference (SDC). In addition to showcasing industry issues and recent developments, the annual conference highlights training and monetary scholarships, and, in normal times, provides opportunities for students in the community to tour airports, FBOs, and flight operations to learn more about business aviation.
While Covid-19 will prevent S&Ds from gathering in person in Fort Worth TX at SDC2021, those important themes and vital conversations will continue throughout the new NBAA Go Flight Operations Conference, scheduled for Feb 23–25.
This virtual event combines the annual SDC and our International Operations Conference to bring together schedulers, dispatchers, pilots, and others focused on mission planning to refine and rethink their business planning, and even their very definition of success, in a world upended by the coronavirus pandemic.
The NBAA Go Flight Operations Conference is one of 2 new virtual events for Q1 2021 (along with the NBAA Go Leadership Summit) that will bring people together with speakers, educational content, and other offerings that will provide a road map for surviving, and even thriving, in an ever-changing environment.
I believe 2021 will be the year in which business aviation closes one of its most difficult chapters, looks toward new horizons, and leverages opportunities on every level – just as we have always done. I hope you’re able to join us online for one or both of these important upcoming conferences, where you’ll see this innovative and resilient spirit on proud display.