Emirates Flight Training Academy (EFTA)’s current batch has 290 cadets – 23 nationalities, 27 women – and there are over 120 graduates who’re now flying full-time for Emirates, forming the new generation of pilots critical to the future of aviation.

EFTA, which was started with a focus on the national cadet pilot programme for Emirates, now offers their training to cadets from all over the globe. Besides the recruitment process, the academy is flying high on the integration of three 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, said; "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."

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, said Emirates.

The Academy combines learning technologies and a modern fleet of 29 training aircraft – 22 Cirrus SR22 G6 single-engine piston, four Embraer Phenom 100EV very light jet, and three Diamond DA42-VI light piston twin-engine aircraft.

EFTA’s facility, which is spread over 12.5 million sq.ft. and is equivalent to 200 football pitches, currently has 36 modern classrooms, six full motion flight simulators, an independent Air Traffic Control Tower, and a dedicated 1,800m runway.

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.

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