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EFTA inducts 53 new pilots into the aviation industry

 As the aviation world grapples with pilot shortages, Emirates Flight Training Academy’s (EFTA) third graduation ceremony held earlier today welcomed 53 new pilots trained at their world-class facility into the industry.

With the latest ceremony, EFTA celebrated crossing three major milestones, including graduating –

  1. international cadets for the first time since the academy opened its doors for non-Emirati cadets in late 2019
  2. the largest cohort – more than 50 cadets and double that of previous events
  3. more than 100 cadets since its first graduation in 2020.

At the ceremony, His Highness 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 His Excellency Mohammed Abdullah Ahli, Director General of Dubai Civil Aviation Authority (DCAA); His Excellency 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.

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.

Emirates Flight Training Academy located in Dubai South, the Emirates Flight Training Academy was launched by Emirates in 2017 to train UAE nationals and international students to become pilots. The Academy combines cutting-edge learning technologies and a modern fleet of 27 training aircraft to train cadets with no previous knowledge of flying. EFTA’s fleet has 22 x Cirrus SR22 G6 single-engine piston and 5 x Embraer Phenom 100EV very light jet aircraft.

EFTA’s state-of-the-art facility, which is equal to 200 football fields, has 36 modern ground classrooms, 6 full motion flight simulators, an independent Air Traffic Control Tower, and a dedicated 1,800 m long runway.

Ground school (53 weeks): All 36 classrooms are equipped with two 86” touchscreens, running bespoke training software created for EFTA by Boeing. Cadets undergo 900 hours of training, and access the material via their own devices, which are all connected to each other, creating an interactive training environment.

Flying school (250 hours): cadets train on simulators, single-engine Cirrus and Phenom jets.


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