As part of Abu Dhabi-based Etihad Airways’ expanding “emiratization” program, an initial batch of 12 UAE national cadets started training in June at Mubadala’s Horizon International Flight Academy in Al Ain, 75 miles south of Dubai. The 12 were selected from more than 500 applicants, including 75 women, who took part in a weeklong assessment in April that included comprehensive personality and English language tests as well as aptitude and medical examinations. An additional 21 applicants were chosen to follow a foundation course in such subjects as physics, math and English in order to achieve the standard required to join the Etihad program at Horizon.
Etihad chief executive James Hogan said the inaugural intake of UAE national cadets was “a momentous occasion” in his airline’s short history. “With Etihad’s incredible growth set to continue, it is crucial that we develop further our Emiratization scheme across all divisions of the airline,” he added.
“These young Emirati cadets are a core part of Etihad’s future,” said Capt. Ismail Al Rais, head of the Etihad cadet pilot program. To become first officers they will have to accrue 930 hours in the classroom and 205 hours’ flying experience in both single- and multi-engine aircraft.
Horizon general manager Mohammed Humaidan Al Zaabi said the academy’s facilities include multi-media equipped classrooms, a flight simulator and a dedicated maintenance department. New intakes of cadet pilots were scheduled to join the program at Horizon every three months. To make the program as accessible as possible for UAE nationals, the maximum entry age has been set at 30 years rather than the usual 24.