Opening the door to the future

Two years after it first opened, Emirates Flight Training Academy (EFTA) at Dubai South is looking forward to reopening when given the go-ahead.

Hands-on experience: Students train in the Cirrus SR22 flight simulator.

“We closed EFTA in March based on the Dubai Government’s direction and to ensure the health and safety of our students, employees and other stakeholders,” said a spokesperson.

“Even though the academy is closed, we are maintaining and following all health and safety protocols set by the Dubai Health Authority. Internally, we have set enhanced procedures, new policies and norms for when we reopen to students.”

EFTA is a world-class facility on 184,000sqm of grounds. The academy has its own runway, air traffic control tower, and maintenance centre. It operates a fleet of Cirrus SR22 piston-engine aircraft and Embraer Phenom 100EV jets.

EFTA quickly ramped up the training of new cadet pilots after its opening in 2017. By the end of 2019, it had 252 students, including 11 female cadets, all drawn from seven nationalities. It’s now on its 17th intake of new students, with the initial intake of cadets due to have qualified in March 2020.

Captain Abdulla Al Hammadi, vice president of the academy, said: “It is an extremely fruitful and rewarding journey as we continue on this path of providing world-class aviation training.

“We have crossed several key milestones in these two years in terms of cadet progression, new partnerships, taking delivery of our full fleet of aircraft, inducting advanced technology, and building up our facilities.

“We are looking to attract and train young and keen talent, who will become career-ready after graduation and help address the regional and global shortage of skilled commercial pilots.”

EFTA recently received its sixth mini full-motion flight simulation training device. These are the first of their kind in the global aviation industry and are modelled on the two aircraft types in its fleet.

In 2019, 27 cadets completed their first solo flights on the Cirrus SR22 and have clocked up a collective 3,671 hours and 19 minutes of flying. Each cadet is required to complete a total of 185 hours flying aircraft.

The first female cadet to fly solo, Latifa Al Mansoori, took to the skies in September.