Etihad gains type approval allowing pilots to fly A350 & A380 interchangeably

Etihas Airways pilots perform a walkaround on an Airbus A380.
Photo Credit: Etihad

Etihad Airways, the national airline of the United Arab Emirates, has marked an achievement in its pilot training and flight operations regimen for the Airbus A350 and A380 fleet.

Etihad flight crew are now authorized to fly both the Airbus A350 and A380 aircraft types interchangeably after rigorous regulatory approval and extensive training.

A350/A380 Regulatory Approval

Etihad Airways has successfully obtained rigorous regulatory approvals and completed comprehensive pilot training programs, culminating in the qualification of its pilots to operate both Airbus A350 and A380 aircraft interchangeably.

This achievement places Etihad at the forefront of the aviation sector, distinguishing it as one of the first airlines to attain the type versatility within its pilot capabilities.

A350 Photo Credit: Etihad


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Traditionally, airline pilots are constrained to flying only one specific aircraft type under an endorsement. However, through specific training and adherence to stringent safety protocols, Etihad has embraced a pioneering approach known as ‘Mixed Fleet Flying’ (MFF).

Under this approach, pilots undergo specialized training programs approved by both the aircraft manufacturer and the Civil Aviation Authority, enabling them to operate two similar aircraft types which possess high levels of similarity in flight deck and procedures.

Building Fleet Commonality

Mohammad Al Bulooki, Chief Operating Officer at Etihad Airways, expressed pride in the airline’s achievement, stating, “Etihad Airways is proud to be one of the very first airlines to qualify its pilots to fly both the Airbus A350 and A380.”

“This milestone underscores our commitment to pushing the boundaries of efficiency, innovation, and customer satisfaction while prioritizing safety above all else.”

An Etihad Airbus A380 in flight
A380 Photo Credit: Etihad

Over the past decade, Etihad has continually set new standards for fleet commonality, obtaining approvals to qualify its pilots to interchangeably fly various aircraft types, including the Airbus A320 and A330, as well as the A330 and A340.

Additionally, Etihad’s Boeing pilots have been qualified to operate the 777 and 787 types, further enhancing operational efficiency and flexibility.

Network Efficiency

The recent approval to fly both the Airbus A350 and A380 represents a natural progression in Etihad’s quest for operational excellence.

By expanding the pool of pilots qualified to operate widebody aircraft, Etihad enhances the efficiency and flexibility of its network, allowing for optimized route planning and resource allocation.

About Etihad Airways

Etihad Airways, the national airline of the UAE, was formed in 2003 and quickly went on to become one of the world’s leading airlines.

From its home in Abu Dhabi, Etihad flies to passenger and cargo destinations in the Middle East, Africa, Europe, Asia, Australia and North America.

Together with Etihad’s codeshare partners, Etihad’s network offers access to hundreds of international destinations.

In recent years, Etihad has received numerous awards for its superior service and products, cargo offering, loyalty programme and more.

Etihad sees tackling the climate crisis as the most important issue of our time and was named the Airline Ratings Environmental Airline of the Year 2022 and 2023. It has invested billions in fuel-efficient aircraft.

Through strategic partnerships with major global aviation brands and OEMs, Etihad is relentless in its pursuit of industry decarbonisation.

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By Len Varley - Assistant Editor 4 Min Read
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