Dubai: 53 pilots graduate from flight training academy, most number of international students from India

This is the largest batch of cadets graduating from Emirates Flight Training Academy since its launch in 2017


Waheed Abbas

Published: Thu 8 Dec 2022, 9:59 PM

Last updated: Thu 8 Dec 2022, 11:02 PM

The first batch of international cadets has graduated from the Emirates Flight Training Academy’s (EFTA) third graduation ceremony on Thursday.

As many as 53 new pilots were trained during the third graduation including five non-Emirati pilots. It was also the largest batch of pilots graduating from the Academy since its launch in 2017.

Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Chairman and Chief Executive Emirates Airline and Group, awarded certificates to the cadet graduates.

“Years ago, we realised there would be a huge demand for trained pilots to support commercial aviation’s needs, and as a global airline and an industry leader, we felt compelled to act. Today’s graduation ceremony marks the achievement of our long-term vision for establishing the state-of-the-art Emirates Flight Training Academy to welcome and nurture young talent not just locally, but globally,” said Sheikh Ahmed.

Pilots who graduated from the EFTA are usually employed by Dubai’s flagship airline.

The Academy is equal to 200 football fields with 36 modern ground classrooms, six full-motion flight simulators, an independent Air Traffic Control Tower, and a dedicated 1,800-metre-long runway.

How to enrol

In order to enrol, the student needs to be 17 and above and should have completed A level with Physics, Math and English, plus a valid visa and security clearance letter to fly.

The two-year complete pilot course costs around $181,000 (Dh664,000) which covers almost everything that students need at the campus.

Started as a facility dedicated only to Emiratis, the Academy started enrolling students after several airlines and foreign militaries approached the Academy for cadet training, said Captain Abdulla Al Hammadi, Vice President Emirates Flight Training Academy.

Indian students top

He said the majority of international students are from India.

“There are at least 15 Indian students enrolled in the Academy and we are getting more inquiries from India for enrollment,” he said.

Al Hammadi added that the facility currently employs 130-40 staff in total and plans to add another 60-70 which will take the total to 200 in 2023 as the number of cadets increases in the Academy.


The Academy will add three new multi-engine aircraft early next year, taking the total to 30 aircraft. Al Hammadi sees a shortage of pilots in the Middle East, forecasting a need for around 55,000-60,000 pilots over the next two decades.

"Before we move on to the future, we would like to remember the past couple of years. There are several moments etched in our collective consciousness. We remember the feeling of pride when we first joined the academy, when we first wore our uniforms, and on our first solo flight. We loved ground school and our high-tech classrooms, even the sleepless nights we spent studying,” said Ali Al Ali, cadet graduate.

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