MEBAA Convention News

Skyplan Gives Regional Flight Dispatch Training Shot in the Arm

 - December 7, 2022, 2:48 AM
Muhammad Sami, president and CEO of SkyPlan Services, is overseeing the opening of SkyPlan’s Skyline Innovation Academy in Dubai. (Photo: David McIntosh)

UAE-based flight planning and dispatch concern Skyplan Services is opening a new flight dispatchers’ training school in Dubai this month. “We are launching Skyline Innovation Academy at Dubai Airport Free Zone [DAFZA],” Muhammad Sami, president and CEO of Skyplan Services, told AIN. “We just received our flight dispatch training organization approval from the General Authority for Civil Aviation [GCAA].”

Costs for its three-day recurrent flight dispatcher course include tuition and competency checks, with the inaugural course to start on December 12. The long-term goal of the establishment is twofold: train new entrants for a flight dispatch career and also maintain the skills of existing professionals, who are required to undergo retesting every 12 months and renew their license every two years.

“It means that we can do the flight dispatch initial courses, both study and on-job training, which is mandated by the GCAA to obtain the flight dispatch license,” he said. “Also, we can do the recurrent flight dispatch courses.”

Skyplan was established in 1983 and is headquartered in Canada. Its core business is flight planning and contract flight dispatch. Dubai is its regional headquarters in the Middle East region. In the Middle East, flight dispatch training is today largely organized through the airlines, and the entrance of private-sector players will shake up the market and provide additional bandwidth for training.

“Since 1983, we have been involved with flight planning systems and providing contract dispatch services to the airlines and business jet community,” Sami said. “We saw the need in the market for well-trained flight dispatchers. We saw the gap and we thought we should start the aviation academy with our own brand name and start doing the training.”

In Canada, Skyplan has a complete operations control center and provides contract dispatch and trip support services to airlines and corporate operators, as well as the general aviation market.

Flight dispatch is a key element of trip support, which Sami defines as everything required to operate a flight from one airport to another. “Besides the flight plan, you require fuel, ground handling, permits, and a hotel for your crew,” he said. “It’s the assistance you require to operate the flight at any airport. It takes a lot of background work.”

The company believes that its courses will be attractive to industry participants as far afield as the Commonwealth of Independent States, Africa, India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Nepal, and Bhutan. Sami said Skyplan Services is also investigating the establishment of a sister academy in East Africa, possibly in Kenya. In the meantime, it will be busy servicing the local market.

“DAFZA is a very central location and it is still considered as Dubai’s aviation hub,” Sami said. “Our audience, flight dispatchers, are mostly based in that area.”