18 May 2014 13:30
Etihad Airways announced today it is establishing the Etihad Flight College, a world-class flight training facility in the United Arab Emirates for Emirati and international cadet pilots.
As a first step in
establishing this college, Etihad Airways is in the process of acquiring the fixed
wing training division from Horizon International Flight Academy
(Horizon), a wholly-owned subsidiary of Mubadala Development Company.
Based in Al Ain, Horizon
has provided helicopter
(rotary wing) training programs since 2003, and airplane (fixed wing) training
since 2007. At Horizon, pilots can qualify for their Private Pilot’s Licence
(PPL), Commercial Pilot’s Licence (CPL) or Airline
Transport Pilot Licence (ATPL).
Horizon currently has
210 trainees enrolled in its aviation training programs and has been the selected
training provider for Etihad Airways’ cadet pilots for the last seven
James Hogan, Etihad
Airways’ President and Chief Executive Officer, said: “The establishment of the
Etihad Flight College is a natural part of our strategy to produce the best
pilots to support our rapidly expanding fleet. It also helps underpin the growth
and development of the aviation sector in Abu Dhabi.
Etihad Airways currently employs over 1,600 pilots and places great
emphasis on recruiting the best pilots from around the world, including Emirati
“We are committed to
developing a world-class facility which combines new and best practice training
programs with high calibre instructors. The training facility will enhance the
career opportunities in aviation, especially for UAE nationals.”
to regulatory approval, Horizon’s fixed wing
division will be acquired by Etihad Flight
College, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Etihad Airways. The
remaining rotary wing division will be Horizon’s key area of focus with plans
to consolidate and continue to grow the business.
Horizon Chief Executive
Officer, Hareb Al Dhaheri commented: “We are proud to have grown the UAE’s
pilot training initiative into a successful company. This transaction benefits both
Abu Dhabi companies, and allows Horizon to focus on developing its future core
business of delivering world class helicopter pilots for all of our Rotary Wing
The assets to be
acquired include 13 Cessna 172SP Skyhawk aircraft, three
Diamond DA42NG aircraft, two flight training simulators and Horizon’s hangar
facilities at Al Ain International Airport.
All fixed wing flight
instructors and some support staff currently employed by Horizon will transfer
to the Etihad Flight College ensuring there is no disruption to the ongoing cadet
pilot training programs.
Etihad Flight College
will also implement the innovative Multi-Crew Pilot Licence (MPL), a competency-based training program that is focussed on developing cadet pilot
candidates into high quality First Officers on completion of their training.
The MPL training program, the first
airline-dedicated professional pilot licence adopted by the International Civil
Aviation Organisation (ICAO), the European Aviation Safety Authority (EASA), and
the UAE General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA), will be developed and
delivered by Etihad Airways’ Operations team. To-date around 250
graduates have already registered for the MPL course, with the first course scheduled
to commence later this year.
Flight College will be the first organisation in the world to use multi-engine
aircraft in the core phase of its MPL training program. Cadet pilots will benefit
from the utilisation of advanced aircraft and simulation training throughout
the program in a multi-crew setting - where two pilots conduct operations that
are focused on the safe and efficient operation of an aircraft, as opposed to
the traditional single-pilot model that is prevalent in the industry
Mr Hogan welcomed the new staff to the Etihad
Airways family. “Our continued success is driven by our people who are
committed to working together as a team. The new flight instructors and support
staff have an important role to play in supporting the continued growth of the
airline, ensuring that there is a consistent stream of well trained pilots
coming into the organisation.”