New generation of pilots is critical to future of aviation. Emirates Flight Training Academy' current batch has 290 – 23 nationalities, 27 women – and there are over 120 graduates who’re now flying full-time for Emirates. EFTA now offers their world-class training to cadets from all over the globe. Besides the staggering success of its graduates – who’ve all been snapped up by Emirates after a stringent recruitment process – the academy is flying high on the integration of three brand-new Diamond aircraft into its training programme. Although the majority are students who’ve recently graduated from high school, the cadets range in age from 17 to 26 years. In fact, an Emirates cabin crew is now a cadet at EFTA, having met the academy’s strict eligibility criteria.
Captain Abdulla Al Hammadi, Divisional Vice President Emirates Flight Training Academy, commented: “EFTA is fully focused on establishing a reliable stream of pilots for the aviation industry, which has been staring at scarcity in the short to the long term, and giving aspiring cadets a visionary academy based in an iconic and one of the safest cities that is also one of the largest aviation hubs on the planet. We offer one of the most sophisticated cadet training programmes, delivered by our 50+ highly skilled instructors, and backed by the exceptional standards and governance set by Emirates, the world’s largest international airline. It’s inspiring to see the camaraderie and collaboration among our cadets as they graduate real-world ready with the highest levels of skills and competencies required by commercial pilots.”
EFTA’s cadets now also fly the Diamond DA42-VI light piston twin-engine aircraft, which has successfully introduced multi-engine piston training at the academy. This means cadets train on three different aircraft types – single-engine, twin-engine and multi-engine light jets. This is a rarity among flight training academies that generally train cadets on just one or two aircraft types. At the Dubai Airshow, EFTA will be showcasing its Diamond DA42-VI and Cirrus SR22 aircraft with instructors on hand to share information about the Academy’s fleet and cadet training programme.
Flight deck careers have seen a huge resurgence post pandemic and are riding another wave of popularity. Salaries have increased, airlines are fast tracking career paths and expanding at a phenomenal rate, aircraft are more sophisticated, demand for travel is booming – all these and more have made aviation a sought-after career. According to Oliver Wyman’s latest research, the gap between supply and demand of pilots is currently about 17,000 and it will increase to 24,000 in 2026.
Emirates launched EFTA in 2017 to train UAE nationals and international students with no previous knowledge of flying. All graduates have the unique opportunity to go through Emirates’ recruitment process. The Academy combines cutting-edge learning technologies and a modern fleet of 29 training aircraft – 22 x Cirrus SR22 G6 single-engine piston, 4 x Embraer Phenom 100EV very light jet, and 3 x Diamond DA42-VI light piston twin-engine aircraft.
EFTA’ facility, which is spread over 12.5 million sq.ft. (1.2 million sq.m) equivalent to 200 football pitches, currently has 36 modern classrooms, 6 full motion flight simulators, an independent Air Traffic Control Tower, and a dedicated 1,800m runway. Cadets live on campus in fully furnished, individual studio flats with an enviable range of recreational facilities, social activities and top-notch dining.
Ground school (52 weeks): All 36 classrooms are equipped with two 86” touchscreens, running bespoke training software created specifically for EFTA. Cadets undergo at least 1,100 hours of ground-based training, and access the material via their own devices, which are digitally interconnected, creating an interactive training environment.
Flying Phase (52 weeks, 272 hours): Cadets train on simulators and the three types of training aircraft.
Two EFTA graduates, currently Emirates’ Cadet Pilots, testimonials:
Thomas Saunders, Cadet Pilot at Emirates, Australian national
“From a very young age, I’ve been fascinated by how these big machines could stay in the sky, and that has led me down the most amazing career path. Emirates Flight Training Academy is a great route to work at the best airline in the world. I also felt that an airline that has such sky-high standards and is so quality conscious will quite naturally impart the best training and mentorship in aviation. My instincts were proved right.
“Our cadet community at EFTA is very tight knit and collaborative. The training gets the best out of us and sets us on our way to a long, enjoyable and successful career. The facilities and infrastructure are absolutely stunning, and everything you need is right at your doorstep.
“My first flight was the most surreal feeling. It was just me at the controls, nature at its best, the incredible Dubai landscape below me – it’s something I had only dreamed of. I advise potential cadets considering a career in aviation to keep at it, enjoy the turbulence, and twists and turns as the experience builds character, and the outcome is way better than you can ever imagine!”
Jordan Engeler – Cadet Pilot at Emirates – Australian national
I’ve always had a deep fascination for the aviation industry and the sense of freedom it offers. The idea of being in control of a sophisticated aircraft, navigating the skies, and experiencing the world from a unique perspective was incredibly appealing to me.
World class training facilities, experienced and supportive instructors, and a diverse and inclusive community were the top three things I loved about EFTA. Emirates is renowned for its exceptional commitment to safety, innovation, and excellence in the aviation industry. EFTA shares these values and offers a world-class training programme that aligned perfectly with my aspirations to become a highly skilled pilot. EFTA’s state-of-the-art facilities, modern fleet of aircraft, and experienced instructors made it an ideal environment for me to learn and thrive.
The feeling of my first solo flight was extremely exhilarating. As I accelerated down the runway, there was a mix of nervousness and excitement, but as the wheels left the ground, it was like a dream come true. I could feel the aircraft responding to my inputs, and the realisation that I was solely responsible for this flight was both empowering and humbling.
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