53 new pilots graduate from Emirates Flight Training Academy

The graduating class of 53 new pilots at Emirates Flight Training Academy.
Photo Credit: Emirates

LONDON – With the global aviation sector grappling with pilot shortages, Emirates Flight Training Academy’s (EFTA) welcomed 53 new pilots trained at their world-class facility into the industry yesterday.

Emirates Flight Training Academy

Emirates Airlines is ahead of the curve when it comes to being able to recruit and train the next generation of its aircraft pilots.

In what was only the third graduation ceremony for the flight school, training of both homegrown and international cadets continues to be a top priority for the United Arab Emirates national flag carrier.

Latest research shows that the industry is going have to fill a deficit of approximately 34,000 pilots by 2025. When factoring in retirements other generational incidents like the Covid19 pandemic, this could potentially rise up to 50,000.

The Middle East alone could be facing a shortage of 3,000 pilots by as soon as 2023. 

The EFTA is located in Dubai South and was launched in 2017, with a sole focus of training UAE nationals to become pilots. In 2019 this changed, and it now welcomes international students into the academy.

A fleet of 27 training aircraft alongside numerous cutting edge learning technologies is deployed to support the cadets 53 week ground school training. 

When a vision becomes reality

His Highness Sheikh Ahmed said: “Years ago, we realised there would be a huge demand for trained pilots to support commercial aviation’s needs, and as a global airline and an industry leader, we felt compelled to act.”

“Today’s graduation ceremony marks the achievement of our long-term vision for establishing the state-of-the-art Emirates Flight Training Academy to welcome and nurture young talent not just locally, but globally.”

“Our next generation of highly skilled, well-trained cadets is a demonstration of the academy’s contribution to the aviation industry. We’re incredibly proud of our graduates and our team at EFTA.”

With this latest graduation ceremony, the Emirates Flight Training Academy (EFTA) achieved three key milestones:

  • The first time non-Emirati cadets graduated since it began welcoming them in late 2019. 
  • The largest cohort it has ever produced, over doubling the figure of the last graduation.
  • The total number of graduated pilots has reached 100 since the first graduation took place in 2020.

Captain Abdulla Al Hammadi, Vice President of the Emirates Flight Training Academy said: “To say that our cadets, instructors and our teams at EFTA have flown through an incredibly turbulent two years is an understatement.”

“We have great admiration for our cadets’ spirit, positivity and the gusto with which they went through the rigours of ground school and sailed through their flying lessons.”

Having completed 900 hours of ground based training and 250 hours of flight instruction, the cadets were in a position to obtain their Integrated Air Transport Pilot License.

Proud families and friends of the cadets watched on as they took to the stage to receive their certificates of graduation from His Highness Sheikh Ahmed bin Saaed Al Maktoum, Chairman and Chief Executive of Emirates Airlines.

Not just flying skills

Ali Al Ali, a cadet graduate from EFTA put into words what it meant to him and his fellow flight training cohort, by saying: “Before we move on to the future, we would like to remember the past couple of years. There are several moments etched in our collective consciousness.”

“We remember the feeling of pride when we first joined the academy, when we first wore our uniforms, on our first solo flight. We loved ground school and our high-tech classrooms, even the sleepless nights we spent studying.”

“But then, we loved our flying lessons even more – the hours we spent honing our skills in the open skies and knowing this is what we will be doing our entire professional lives. What can be more extraordinary than having an office 38,000 feet up in the sky?”

“The academy has taught us all how to be leaders, how to be responsible, disciplined, and professional. On behalf of the Class of 2022, our sincere gratitude goes to everyone who made our graduation possible.”

Sir Tim Clark, President of Emirates Airlines was in attendance, alongside a whole host of the Emirates senior management team and numerous important leaders from the UAE’s aviation community.

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