Yesterday, we learnt the pretty exciting news that Emirates is planning to reopen its cabin crew recruitment process – possibly in the very near future. It’s the first time we’ve heard from the airline in quite a while on this subject but unfortunately, the actual announcement raised more questions than it answered.
In fairness, the news was only meant to be seen by serving Emirates cabin crew – the announcement wasn’t publicly released but we felt it important to share this information with you as soon as we found out.
Yet, it’s understandable that aspiring Emirates cabin crew are asking important questions. Like you, we’ve also got questions and we want to share some more details. We might not have all the answers but these are the things we’re most interested in…
1. Is the news just a rumour?
The announcement was made by Emirates’ vice president and chief operations officer, Adel Al Redha in an internal memo sent to the airline’s cabin crew community on Sunday afternoon. We’d put Redha pretty high up on our list of people who are in the know about whats going on at Emirates.
We’ve seen both the original memo and spoken with multiple sources at the airline. We’re confident the news is genuine. Here’s exactly what Redha had to say:
“We will soon start recruiting cabin crew, and based on operation requirements, certain grades will have opportunities for upgrades.”
2. How long is “soon”?
Unfortunately, this is the question that no one yet knows the answer to. There could be movement in as little as a few days or weeks. But more likely, we could be talking a couple of months before recruitment restarts.
Some insiders have already sounded their mistrust at Redha’s statement – believing that it’s a cynical attempt to pacify unhappy crew. It’s important to note that Redha has sent this memo at a particularly bad time for the relationship between crew and management.
As Emirates hasn’t had any new joiners in over a year, much serving crew say they are understaffed and overworked. Recruiting new crew to ease the burden and allowing the opportunity for promotion would go a long way to improving relations.
3. What about successful candidates who were ‘expired’?
When Emirates suddenly stopped recruiting new cabin crew (and halted its training courses), the airline still had a backlog of successful candidates who were waiting to join.
As the recruitment freeze dragged on and on, those candidates were unceremoniously informed their applications had “expired” and they would have to reapply from scratch if they ever wanted the opportunity to work for Emirates in the future. This is in stark contrast to Etihad who allowed candidates in a similar situation to retain their place at the head of the queue once Etihad started hiring again.
But in the last couple of days, some of those ‘expired’ candidates have received an email from the Emirates recruitment team. The emails read: “there is now a possibility that our cabin crew recruitment may recommence.” However, the email warns there is no “definite confirmation” of when the next course intake will be.
For the timebeing, those candidates are being invited to take part in a pre-recorded video interview.
4. Will internal applications be fast-tracked?
There’s been a lot of talk recently about the plight of Cabin Service Attendants (CSA’s) at Emirates. It’s believed that many CSA’s were convinced to take on the role while under the impression that one day they would become fully fledged cabin crew.
It’s doubtful that Emirates will suddenly open up cabin crew recruitment to its serving CSA’s but it could happen and the possibility shouldn’t be entirely ruled out.
5. What nationalities will they hire?
This is the bit where things get complicated. Emirates prides itself on having a very multi-cultural and cosmopolitan mix of cabin crew – many nationalities are represented as Emirates cabin crew and the airline gives the impression that anyone can attain their dream.
That’s not completely true. Emirates will be targeting certain nationalities that are “under-represented” at the moment – unfortunately, we don’t know what those are yet but it will be very interesting to see where the airline arranges Assessment Day’s when recruitment does restart.
Because Emirates is moving to an online application process, you may well be shortlisted but then not invited to an Assessment Day until you meet all the requirements they are looking for – gender, age, language skills, nationality, etc.
6. How many new crew will they hire?
This will be a really key question. In 2015, the number of Emirates cabin crew exceeded 20,000 for the first time. That year, the airline hired around 5,000 new crew and the total figure rose to about 24,000 in 2016.
We know that a lot of cabin crew have recently left or plan to leave the company and we also know that Emirates has been taking measures to make up for understaffing in certain cabins – but whether Emirates plans to go on the kind of hiring spree that we saw in the past remains to be seen.
There’s every chance that we may well see a more conservative approach, like the kind seen at both Etihad and flydubai in the last six months.
7. Will the contract be different?
Serving cabin crew are currently unhappy with changes in allowances and benefits but that’s not to say Emirates won’t change the ‘contract’ even further for new staff. After all, if you join the airline fully aware of what is and isn’t offered then you can hardly be annoyed when you get to Dubai, can you?
Mateusz Maszczynski honed his skills as an international flight attendant at the most prominent airline in the Middle East and has been flying throughout the COVID-19 pandemic for a well-known European airline. Matt is passionate about the aviation industry and has become an expert in passenger experience and human-centric stories. Always keeping an ear close to the ground, Matt's industry insights, analysis and news coverage is frequently relied upon by some of the biggest names in journalism.