As the aviation world grapples with pilot shortages, Emirates Flight Training Academy’s (EFTA) third graduation ceremony welcomed 53 new pilots trained at its world-class facility into the industry.
With the latest ceremony, EFTA celebrated crossing three major milestones, including graduating – international cadets for the first time since the academy opened its doors for non-Emirati cadets in late 2019 the largest cohort – more than 50 cadets and double that of previous events more than 100 cadets since its first graduation in 2020.
At the ceremony, Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Chairman and Chief Executive Emirates Airline and Group congratulated and awarded certificates to the cadet graduates. Emirates’ executive management team in attendance included: Sir Tim Clark, President Emirates Airline, Adel Al Redha, Chief Operating Officer; Adnan Kazim, Chief Commercial Officer and Ali Al Soori, Executive Vice President Chairman's Office & Facilities/Projects Management.
EFTA also hosted senior leaders from across the UAE aviation community including Mohammed Abdullah Ahli, Director General of Dubai Civil Aviation Authority (DCAA); Khalifa Al Zaffin, Executive Chairman of Dubai Aviation City Corporation (DACC); Tahnoon Saif, Chief Executive Officer Mohammed Bin Rashid Aerospace Hub; Major General Ali Atiq Bin Lahej, Director of the General Department of Airports Security at Dubai Police, and a delegation from the UAE Armed Forces.
Sheikh Ahmed said: "Years ago, we realised there would be a huge demand for trained pilots to support commercial aviation’s needs, and as a global airline and an industry leader, we felt compelled to act. Today’s graduation ceremony marks the achievement of our long-term vision for establishing the state-of-the-art Emirates Flight Training Academy to welcome and nurture young talent not just locally, but globally. Our next generation of highly skilled, well-trained cadets is a demonstration of the academy’s contribution to the aviation industry. We’re incredibly proud of our graduates and our team at EFTA."
Captain Abdulla Al Hammadi, Vice President Emirates Flight Training Academy said: "To say that our cadets, instructors and our teams at EFTA have flown through an incredibly turbulent two years is an understatement. We have great admiration for our cadets’ spirit, positivity and the gusto with which they went through the rigours of ground school and sailed through their flying lessons.
"They are bidding goodbye to the academy, not just with a clutch of certificates and trophies, but with a range of professional and life skills, an array of amazing competencies, and vibrant memories. They’ve left their mark at EFTA, and we are confident they will be captivating the hearts and minds of the aviation industry. Today marks their last day of one journey and the exciting first day of another."
The ceremony evoked a range of emotions as the young graduates took to the stage, cheered on by their proud families and friends. And rightly so, as the young cadets had successfully completed the rigorous programme with 900 hours of ground-based training and 250 hours of flight instruction to obtain their Integrated Air Transport Pilot Licence.
EFTA also honoured the highest performing and most diligent cadets for their achievements across all facets of the training programme.
According to Oliver Wyman’s latest research, the aviation industry will experience a global gap of 34,000 pilots by 2025, which could increase to 50,000 given the impact of furloughs and retirements. Driven by a projected sharp increase in air travel demand, the Middle East region could face a shortage of 3,000 pilots by 2023 and 18,000 by 2032. Boeing estimates that by 2041 the gap will widen to 602,000 pilots globally and 53,000 in the Middle East.
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