Etihad Airways first Middle Eastern airline to start Dreamliner Multi-Crew Pilot program

Etihad Airways cadet pilots pose in front of Etihad aircraft.
Photo Credit: Etihad Airways

United Arab Emirates national carrier Etihad Airways has achieved a significant milestone in its aircrew training programme.

The first of its cadet pilots have now successfully completed ‘Base Training’ on an actual Boeing 787 Dreamliner as part of the carriers Multi-Crew Pilot License (MPL) programme.

The Dreamliner training programme

‘Base Training’ flights are used to train cadet pilots on take-off and landings under the supervision of a qualified instructor.

After this step, the cadet pilots then further progress their training on the advanced wide-body Boeing 787 Dreamliner.

Launched in October 2020, the Boeing 787 Dreamliner MPL programme was developed in collaboration with IATA and the GCAA and has been designed to meet the growing demand for highly skilled pilots in the industry.

To achieve the high proficiency standard required, the programme trains cadets to become fully qualified Boeing 787 Dreamliner pilots through an accelerated and highly advanced curriculum that capitalises on leading industry learning techniques and technology.

The program is tailored to the airline and the specific environment it operates in as well as the aircraft itself.

Pilots passing through the programme then meet the requirements of the airline, its aircraft and operational environment.

The training package includes theoretical knowledge and simulator training, as well as on-the-job flight training with some of the most experienced instructors on this aircraft type.


Mohammad Al Bulooki, Chief Operating Officer at Etihad Airways said, “Etihad’s UAE national cadet pilots are the first to complete this significant milestone on one of the world’s first Boeing 787 Dreamliner MPL programmes”.

“This achievement is a testament to Etihad’s commitment to continuously invest and develop our UAE national talent by adopting state-of-the-art training methodologies.”

“Through this programme, Etihad’s cadet pilots will receive the most advanced training in commercial aviation as we prepare for our continued growth in 2023 and beyond”.

First base training flight

The base training flight was successfully flown by Second Officers Aya Saleh Alaudhli and Abdulla Rasheed Alsheebani under the supervision of Captain Suraj Weerasekera.

Second Officer Aya Saleh Alaudhli said: “Thanks to our leadership and their belief in Emirati women, I am proud and privileged to be in the first batch of the Boeing 787 Dreamliner MPL programme that Etihad has successfully pioneered”. 

Etihad Airways Dreamliner

Etihad Airways received its first Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner in December 2014, and the airline commenced commercial operations with the aircraft type in February 2015.

The first route operated by Etihad’s 787-9 Dreamliner was Abu Dhabi to Düsseldorf, Germany.

Since then, Etihad Airways has continued to expand its Dreamliner fleet, with the airline taking delivery of additional 787-9s over the years.

Notable features of Etihad’s 787-9 Dreamliner fleet include its unique livery, which features a beautiful golden design on the aircraft’s tail and engines.

It also boats a luxurious Business Class cabin, which features lie-flat seats, direct aisle access, and a personal minibar.

The airline also operates a smaller fleet of Boeing 787-10 Dreamliners, which it received starting in 2019.

Overall, the Boeing 787 Dreamliner has been an important part of Etihad Airways’ fleet since 2015, providing the airline with a modern and efficient aircraft to serve a range of destinations around the world.

By Len Varley - Assistant Editor 4 Min Read
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