“The Emirates Flight Training Academy [EFTA] is scheduled to be inaugurated in November 2017 during the Dubai Airshow,” Capt. Abdulla Al Hammadi, vice president, told AIN in an exclusive preshow interview. The timing of the official opening of EFTA, located at Al Maktoum International Airport (DWC), less than three km from the Exhibition hall, has been moved forward from early 2018 to coincide with the show.
Emirates already has flight-training facilities near its Garhoud headquarters at Dubai Creek, and at Dubai Silicon Oasis, but is expanding into the new facility to meet the growing demand for pilots at the airline.
“The aviation industry is witnessing increasing passenger numbers every year as a result of economic expansion and globalization. More and more people around the world are now able to afford air travel for both business as well as pleasure. Airlines need not only more aircraft but also more trained professionals and technicians who can operate these aircraft—most importantly pilots,” he said. “We have to keep in mind that new pilots are needed not only to operate new aircraft but also to replace the existing pilot workforce, who will be aging and retiring.”
Boeing's most recent pilot outlook projects that the global aviation industry needs more than 637,000 new airline pilots between 2017 and 2036, Emirates said. “This is a staggering number and it translates into over 80 pilots who need to complete their training every day between now and 2036," said Al Hammadi. "The Middle East region alone needs about 63,000 new pilots, [or 9.9 percent of the total], to cater to increasing passenger numbers. That is more than eight pilots every day who need to be trained just in this region between now and 2036. It then becomes crucial for the aviation industry to have the necessary infrastructure to train aspiring pilots to meet this challenge.
“EFTA is Emirates’s response to this pressing need. Emirates has made this investment not only to cater to its own growing need for pilots, but also to train pilots who can enter the global pilot workforce.”
From Single Piston Singles to Jets
EFTA trains ab initio pilots, a number of whom are Emirati nationals, and claims to house some of the most advanced training facilities in the world. The academy includes ground-school classrooms, ground-based simulators and a fleet of 27 aircraft, including 22 piston-engine Cirrus SR22 G6 singles and five Embraer Phenom 100EV twinjets, valued at more than $39 million. It will be the first flight training school in the world to use the Embraer light jet to train cadets.
Other facilities include an 1,800-meter (5,905-foot) private runway with modern navigation aids and lighting, an independent air traffic control tower, a rescue and firefighting service and a maintenance center.
The academy will be residential and include accommodations for men and women, along with sporting and other recreational facilities. At full planned capacity, the academy will be able to support approximately 600 cadets at any one time. At opening, the academy will have close to 50 dedicated staff.
EFTA’s curriculum will see cadets complete at least 1,100 hours of ground and 315 hours of flight training using a competency-focused approach that exceeds the guidelines prescribed by the General Civil Aviation Authority, Al Hammadi said.
“Emirates has partnered with Boeing to deliver a comprehensive training curriculum and integrated software system to manage cadet learning and enhance training opportunities to produce career-ready pilots,” he said.
Emirates Flight Training is unparalleled in size and facilities as well as its approach to training the next generation of pilots, he said. In conventional training, cadets move from single-engine piston aircraft to twin-engine piston aircraft before transitioning to jets.
“At EFTA," Al Hammadi said, "cadets move from the single-engine piston Cirrus SR22 directly to learning to fly the jet-powered Embraer Phenom 100EV. This eliminates an extra step in becoming a commercial pilot and gives cadet pilots an enhanced curriculum during single-engine training, as well as more experience flying jet aircraft.”