Dubai-based Emirates is on a new mission to woo experienced Airbus Captains from around the world and convince them to leave their careers at home and move to the Persian Gulf and fly its A380 superjumbos.
Emirates says it is ‘rolling out the red carpet’ as it seeks to quickly bolster its pilot workforce with experienced commanders to meet the continuing demand for air travel.
It’s no secret that airlines worldwide are being held back by two main issues: a lack of airplanes and spare parts and a growing pilot shortage, which is set to get even worse in the coming years.
Emirates already has a workforce of more than 4,200 pilots, but the carrier needs even more experienced crew to get its remaining A380s (parked since the start of the pandemic at Dubai World Central Airport) back into service.
To compound the airline’s issues, Emirates is also preparing for the delivery of the Airbus A350-900, as well as the Boeing 787 Dreamliner next year.
For several years, Emirates’ fleet strategy made it simple to manage flight crew as it had a single Airbus fleet of A380 pilots and a single Boeing fleet of 777 pilots. The airline is now doubling the number of pilot fleets, which will create rostering issues that can only be solved with a substantial number more pilots on the books.
To convince Captains to move to the desert, the airline is offering a large tax-free salary, private villas, chauffeur-driven transport to and from work, free laundry services, free confirmed Business Class tickets home for an annual holiday and private medical coverage.
In the past five months alone, Emirates has already hired 172 new pilots and many more will be recruited in the months ahead.
And in an attempt to dispel rumours that pilots can’t build a long career at Emirates, the airline says around 40% of its current pilot workforce have been working in Dubai for at least 10 years, while nearly 1,400 pilots have worked for Emirates for between 10 and 19 years.
As well as wooing experienced commanders of widebody Airbus aircraft, including the A380, A330 and A350, the airline is also hiring single-aisle Airbus commanders on an accelerated command programme for the A380 fleet. These pilots would join as A380 First Officers on an enhanced salary with the intent of becoming a Captain within 12 months.
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.