Emirates puts out call for experienced Airbus captains

Emirates flight and cabin crew.
Photo Credit: Emirates

UAE flag carrier Emirates has extended an invitation to seasoned Airbus captains to join its ranks.

With the airline expanding its fleet of wide-body aircraft and rising demand across its global network, Emirates is on the lookout for experienced commanders to participate in its Direct Entry Captains program, specifically tailored for its fleet of Airbus A380s.

Worldwide Recruitment Drive

Emirates has initiated a worldwide recruitment campaign to attract top-notch talent. For suitably qualified pilots, an online information session is scheduled for October 4th at 1 pm Dubai time.

This and further opportunities can be found on Emirates’ career portal: Emirates Careers.

The Direct Entry Captains Program

To qualify for Emirates’ prestigious Direct Entry Captains program, candidates must be technically proficient captains with a minimum of 3,000 hours of recent command experience on Airbus fly-by-wire wide-body aircraft.

This includes aircraft such as the A330, A340, A350, and the flagship A380. Additionally, applicants must have accumulated a minimum of 7,000 hours of total flying time on multi-crew, multi-engine aircraft, along with meeting other eligibility criteria.


Life at 35,000 Feet

Emirates current aircrew compliment comprises 4,200 professionals, including 1,515 A380 pilots.

Emirates’ fleet consists of 260 state-of-the-art aircraft, featuring the iconic Airbus A380s and Boeing 777s. In addition, the airline will soon be welcoming A350s in mid-2024 and 777-9s in 2025.

The comprehensive global route networks currently span six continents. Responsibilities range from regional flights in the Middle East to ultra-long-haul journeys and cross-polar flights, ensuring varied and engaging work schedules.

Aircrew Training

Emirates places a strong emphasis on pilot training, investing significantly in innovative training programs.

The airline’s training facility currently boasts 10 full-flight simulators, where pilots receive instruction from highly experienced trainers in specially designed environments.

Further enhancing their commitment to training, Emirates is set to unveil a cutting-edge pilot training facility in March 2024, with an impressive 63,300 square feet of space.

This new facility will increase pilot training capacity by 54% and house an additional six full-flight simulators, including those for the A350s and Boeing 777-9s.

Pilots at Emirates also have access to a range of non-technical training programs offered by the Emirates Aviation College and Emirates Aviation University.

Emirates Airbus A380 aircraft in front of concourse A at Dubai Airport

Life in Dubai

Emirates’ expat pilot community thrives in Dubai, a safe, secure, and multicultural city. With flight deck colleagues hailing from 111 countries and other colleagues representing over 160 nationalities, you’ll find a welcoming and diverse community.

As a pilot with Emirates, you can expect a competitive tax-free salary, spacious accommodation, educational allowances, and comprehensive dental, medical, and life insurance coverage.

Additional perks include chauffeur-driven transport to and from work, laundry services, 42 days of annual leave, confirmed Business Class annual leave flight tickets, concessional cargo rates, exceptional discounted travel benefits for friends and family, and much more.

Pilots at Emirates appreciate the well-defined career paths that lay ahead. Captains can progress into various roles such as management pilots, recruitment pilots, technical pilots, standards captains, training captains, audit captains, examiners, and instructors.

 Emirates has a remarkable track record of retaining talent, with approximately 40% of its pilots having served for a decade or more.

In fact, 1,380 pilots have been with the airline for 10-19 years, 173 for between 20-29 years, and 5 have completed an astounding 30 years of dedicated service. A fun fact: the two longest-serving pilots, with over 34 years of service, joined the airline on the same day in 1989.

In the last five months, Emirates has welcomed 172 new pilots through its three distinctive recruitment programs: Direct Entry Captains, Accelerated Command, and First Officers.

Accelerated Command Program

Designed specifically for Airbus Captains currently commanding narrow-body aircraft with a minimum of 1,500 hours of Airbus fly-by-wire experience, the Accelerated Command Program offers an enticing opportunity.

A row of Emirates aircraft parked at terminal.
Photo Credits: Emirates

Successful candidates join as A380 First Officers with an enhanced salary package. After accumulating a minimum of 700 flying hours and successfully completing two recurrent checks, they become eligible for an accelerated command upgrade, typically achieved in just over a year.

First Officers

Candidates aspiring to become First Officers at Emirates must possess multi-engine, multi-crew aircraft experience, a valid International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) Airline Transport Pilot License (ATPL), and a minimum of 2,000 hours on 20-tonne maximum take-off weight aircraft.

Interested pilots, who would like to learn more about the various flight deck roles and register for the info session, can click here.

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By Len Varley - Assistant Editor 6 Min Read
6 Min Read
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