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DUBAI — Forty-two-year old UAE national Khalid Jasim joined the aviation industry in the UAE when in it was still in its infancy and has seen it grow by leaps and bounds over the years. He tells Khaleej Times how he defied the Emirati perceptions on taking on a private sector job and the future of the aviation sector as he sees it.

Q: What do you currently do?

A: I am the manager of Engineering Training at Emirates. My job involves providing training to 4,000 engineering staff at different levels.

Q: What made you join this industry?

A: I joined the aviation industry in 1990 and at that time not many UAE nationals were interested in this field (private sector) owing to factors such as retirement benefits, salary etc. I joined the Emirates Engineering Department as the second batch of the Aircraft Engineering programme for nationals.

I chose this field because of the rapid development of aircraft technology, safety and quality of work and time management. At that time I was sure that I would have a good future and a better career progression.

Q: What course did you take up at Emirates Aviation College?

A: I took up the MBA in Aviation Management programme in 2008. I started as an aircraft mechanic and became an engineer. My experience was mainly aircraft maintenance. The programme gave me a wider knowledge of what is happening in the aviation industry in terms of airline and airport operations, HR issues and understanding the financial aspects.

Q: Can you comment on the growth in the aviation industry as you see it?

A: UAE airlines have ordered more aircraft, added more destinations and tourism has grown stronger. This will give a lot of opportunity for experiencing new challenges.

Q: Do you think there will be an urgent need for manpower in this sector?

A: Yes. Middle Eastern airlines continue to play more aircraft orders. In Dubai, the Al Maktoum International Airport is already functional. Furthermore, freight and cargo is on the increase and related aircraft companies like Abu Dhabi Aircraft Technologies (ADAT) and Mubadala continue to play a major role in the development of the UAE. To meet this expansion, companies and authorities will need to expand to cope and more manpower is necessary.

Q: Do you think aviation is a popular field of study among students in the UAE?

A: Aviation has certainly become a popular field due to the tremendous growth of the sector in a short span of time.

Q: What are you future plans?

A: My MBA qualification and experience will give me a better vision on how to set future strategies in the industry. I’ll definitely implement my knowledge and experience and continue to contribute to the growth of the aviation industry in the UAE.

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