21 May 2013 09:00

Etihad Airways, the national airline of the United Arab Emirates, has plans to recruit more than 50 pilots from its partner airline, airberlin. 

The move comes as airberlin, Germany’s second largest carrier, continues to work through its Turbine business turnaround program, and as Etihad Airways prepares for significant international expansion.

The recruitment transfers began in April when the first batch of six Boeing 737-rated First Officers arrived in Abu Dhabi to start type conversion training on to the Boeing 777 at Etihad Airways’ Flight Training Centre.

Upon successful completion, the six pilots will undertake line training on the airline’s global network, before being fully licensed as type-rated Boeing 777 First Officers.

Further pilot transfers will take place in the coming months, comprising Airbus A320 Captains, Airbus A320 First Officers, Airbus A330 First Officers and Boeing 777 non-rated First Officers.

First Officer Peter Reimers, previously based in Köln for six years with airberlin, and who flew Boeing 737s, said: “It’s been a great experience coming to Abu Dhabi. Etihad Airways’ fellow staff have been hugely supportive, and I believe this move will help in our career progression. I’m looking forward to eventually flying the Boeing 777s.”

Nils Korte, a fellow former Boeing 737 First Officer at airberlin, said:  “This is a great opportunity for us, and we really feel that we are part of the ever expanding Etihad Airways team.  The welcome, support, and training in Abu Dhabi have all been superb and we are proof of the benefits of both carriers working together.”

Etihad Airways’ current fleet of 77 Boeing and Airbus aircraft will grow significantly this decade with more than 90 firm order aircraft scheduled for delivery.

Over the next 12 months the carrier will take delivery of four Boeing 777-300ER, five Airbus A320, one Airbus A321, one Airbus A330-200 and one Airbus A330-200 freighter aircraft.  Late next year, Etihad Airways will also introduce its first Airbus A380 and Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft.

Etihad Airways currently employs over 1,400 pilots, and plans to recruit 1,000 more by 2020.

James Hogan, Etihad Airways’ President and Chief Executive Officer, said:  “This development is part of the broader process to strengthen our alliance with equity group partners.  With airberlin we are already sharing resources, integrating our fleet programs, aligning our well-experienced personnel, and developing careers.”

Since December 2011, Etihad Airways and airberlin have worked together on a range of other synergies including pilot training, common maintenance, alignment of Boeing 787 Dreamliner orders, integration of their frequent flyer programs and the sharing of infrastructure.

Captain Richard Hill, Etihad Airways’ Chief Operations Officer, said: “Our strategic partnership with airberlin continues to deliver synergies benefiting not only both carriers, but also the professional career paths of our combined and highly-trained pilots.

“The new recruits are familiar with Etihad Airways and many of our aircraft types, which is a huge advantage.  We look forward to welcoming more of these pilots and their families to Abu Dhabi very soon.”

In November 2013 Etihad Airways will more than double the size of its Flight Training Centre in Abu Dhabi, with its new extended facility housing flight simulators for Airbus A320, Airbus A330/A340, Airbus A350, Airbus A380, Boeing 777 and Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft types.

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