Dubai's long-haul operator Emirates is investing EUR4 million ($4.3 million) to expand its aircraft fleet dedicated for training future pilots.

The Emirates Flight Training Academy (EFTA) has made an order for three twin-engine DA42-VI and its corresponding flight simulator from Austria-based Diamond Aircraft Industries, according to a statement on Thursday.

The new aircraft will be delivered soon, with all three scheduled to be received by EFTA in the first half of 2023.

"Our new fleet ... is part of our larger strategic intent for our cadet programme. It helps us design a bridging MEP (multi-engine piston) programme for cadets to gain more flying experience while progressing from a single engine to a light jet aircraft," said Abdulla Al Hammadi, Vice President Emirates Flight Training Academy.

"Our cadets will benefit hugely as they gain experience on three different types of aircraft, even before they're licensed."

The training academy, which was launched in 2017 to train UAE nationals and international cadets to become pilots, has recorded more than 100 graduates since 2020. 

Emirates said the DA42-VI aircraft is slated to be the flagship that ushers in multi-engine piston (MEP) training at the academy. The 4-seat aircraft is the latest version of Diamond's technology leading light piston twin-engine aircraft.

The jet fuel-powered aircraft, which is designed to make transitioning from single to twin engine much easier, generates fuel savings of up to 50% compared to conventional AVGAS-powered twins.

(Writing by Cleofe Maceda; editing by Mily Chakrabarty)