By Laura Cronin 21 Apr 2023 5 min read

What does a Flight Operations Manager do?

A Flight Operations Manager is responsible for ensuring the safe, efficient, and on-time operations of an airline's flights, keeping everything running smoothly. In this article, we will explore the main responsibilities of a Flight Operations Manager, their daily tasks, and the skills and qualifications required to become one.


Main job responsibilities of a Flight Operations Manager

Ensure safety and regulatory compliance: The main responsibility of a Flight Operations Manager is to ensure that all flights operate safely and comply with all aviation regulations. They are responsible for implementing safety management systems, conducting safety audits, and ensuring compliance with aviation regulations such as the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) regulations.

Manage flight operations: Flight Operations Managers are responsible for the day-to-day management of airline operations. They oversee the scheduling of flights, monitor flight performance, and ensure that all flights are operating on time.

Manage crew: Flight Operations Managers are also responsible for overseeing crew, including pilots and flight attendants. They ensure that all crew members are properly trained, have the necessary certifications, and are complying with all safety procedures. They also ensure all flights have the necessary flight crew, planning ahead to avoid issues like crew shortages and making sure any emergency staff cover needs are accounted for.

Overseeing policies and procedures: Flight Operations Managers are responsible for developing policies and procedures for flight operations. They work with other departments, such as maintenance and engineering, to ensure that all policies and procedures are up-to-date and effective.


Examples of daily tasks

  • Reviewing flight schedules and making adjustments as necessary
  • Conducting safety audits and ensuring compliance with aviation regulations
  • Managing crew, including scheduling, rosters, emergency staff cover, and training
  • Arranging for aircraft to undergo maintenance and repair
  • Dealing with unforeseen issues like adverse weather conditions which could impact the airline’s daily operations
  • Working with the wider Operations team to discuss issues and develop solutions


Skills and qualifications needed to be a Flight Operations Manager

Education: Having solid high school-level qualifications in core subjects such as English and Maths is beneficial. A degree in aviation, travel & tourism, aerospace engineering, or a related field is also beneficial to have, but not always required. Some high-level Flight Operations roles, for example at Director level, also sometimes require candidates to hold, or have held, an Airline Transport Pilot Licence (ATPL) at some point.

Experience: Flight Operations Managers typically have several years of experience working in the aviation industry, or in similar operational roles within other industries like transport and logistics. Higher level Operations roles often require several years of relevant career experience from their applicants.

Knowledge: Flight Operations Managers must have a comprehensive understanding of aviation regulations, aircraft performance, crew management, and safety management systems.

Communication skills: Flight Operations Managers must be highly effective communicators, able to work with a wide variety of stakeholders including pilots, flight attendants, ground crew, and management.

Working under pressure: The ability to deal with multiple tasks, timescales and deadlines is key to this role, so being able to work effectively and calmly under pressure is hugely important.


With airlines operating 24/7, and thousands of flights taking off every day around the world, operations staff are absolutely critical to the aviation industry to keep everything running smoothly and safely. Making sure each department meets safety regulations, aircraft receive the maintenance that they need, and airlines have enough staff available to crew each flight, are just a few responsibilities of this important role that keeps the industry moving.

Browse the latest Flight Operations jobs here.