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Etihad widens training to external customers

Posted 4 October 2018 · Add Comment

With the global airline industry facing an increasingly urgent need for pilots, Etihad Aviation Group has expanded its training organisation and made its services available to external customers for the first time. Alan Dron reports.

Moves by Etihad Airways Group to bring together and re-brand two aspects of its flight training system are aimed at making Abu Dhabi a global centre for a wide range of airline training programmes.
The group has combined its ground-training component with the former Etihad Flying College (previously two separate entities) and renamed the new single organisation Etihad Aviation Training (EAT), with the aim of attracting third parties to the emirate for pilot, cabin crew and maintenance training.
Flying training will range from ab initio to instructor level.
The development was announced in March and is already being actively marketed overseas. “Response has been quite good,” said Captain Paolo La Cava, director EAT. “We have an increase in third-party training compared to last year.”
Previously, only Etihad Airways and its equity partner airlines, such as Air Serbia and Air Seychelles, used the facilities.
EAT operates from two locations in the emirate; Abu Dhabi houses the main centre for ground-based training, while the flying programme is carried out in the less congested skies around Al Ain.
EAT is already the home for 10 full-flight simulators, with two additional examples (the airline’s first Airbus A350-900 simulator and its third for the Boeing 787-9) being delivered this year.
When they are in operation, EAT will have simulators covering the entire Airbus range of aircraft – the A320 (three simulators), A330 (two, plus the necessary conversion package for anyone requiring A340 training), A350 (one) and A380 (one). Additionally, it will have three simulators for the Boeing 787-9 and two for the 777-300ER. A flight-training device will back up each simulator.
On the flying side, EAT operates 10 Cessna 172s with Garmin 1000 avionics, six twin-engined Diamond DA42s, four Embraer Phenom 100 light business jets and two Extra 300 aerobatic aircraft for teaching the increasingly important skill of upset recovery.
EAT has already been recognised by UAE aviation regulator GCAA as an approved training organisation (ATO) and should, by the time this is read, have received similar status from the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA).
EAT’s component parts have already played a major role in the UAE national cadet pilot training programme, which has trained more than 230 UAE nationals, nearly 100 of whom are now active flight crew with Etihad. Additionally, a further 200-plus cadets are planned to go through the syllabus between 2018-22.
The Etihad Group has invested in EAT to take advantage of the steadily increasing demand for aircrew and ground personnel around the world as aviation continues to grow at a rate of around 5% a year. “We’re in the market to reduce the shortage of pilots,” said La Cava. “Of course, it’s a business opportunity.”
EAT anticipates taking advantage of increasing demand, particularly from within the Gulf Cooperation Council nations, Europe, the Indian sub-continent, Africa and southeast Asia.
EAT will offer airline transport pilot licence (ATPL) and multi-crew pilot licence (MPL) qualifications and courses are not restricted to pilots employed by airlines: “Individuals can apply, but they have to follow the ATPL integrated course, not the MPL, which has to be sponsored by an airline,” noted La Cava.
“Etihad Aviation Training is an ambitious enterprise, pursuing its mandate to provide outstanding training services to a global audience,” added Etihad Aviation Group CEO, Tony Douglas.
“The growth of the business will mirror the expansion of the global training market and we are excited about our expanding portfolio of programmes and products. These services are accessible to both Etihad Airways and now, for the first time, to external customers.”
 

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