16 Aug 2015 14:30
Etihad Airways, the national airline of the United Arab Emirates, is offering pilots seconded from partner airlines the opportunity to transfer to permanent contracts, flying the carrier’s most advanced Airbus and Boeing aircraft.
The pilot secondment
program, a part of Etihad Airways strategy for international expansion, is
further evidence that the synergies delivered through the airline’s equity and
non-equity partnerships also benefit the professional career paths of the
partners’ highly trained pilots.
program began in April 2013 when the first batch of seven airberlin Boeing
737-rated First Officers arrived in Abu Dhabi to start type conversion training
on the Boeing 777 at Etihad Airways’ state-of-the-art Flight Training Centre.
To date, there are almost
200 partner airline pilots seconded to Etihad Airways. This includes 52 pilots
from airberlin, 41 from Alitalia, 63 from Jet Airways, 25 from City Liner, four
from Darwin Airline and six from NIKI. They have all been handpicked for their
flying experience and skills.
seconded pilots undergo an extensive training program that lasts from three to
five months. They complete a two-week induction program to get acquainted with
Etihad Airways standard flight operating procedures.
This is followed by a
three-week theoretical ground school training to gain the technical skills
required to proceed to a four-week practical flight simulator training, which
covers normal and non-normal as well as emergency situations.
Trainees then have to
pass a simulator test to obtain their licence from the UAE General Civil
Aviation Authority. This qualification is a prerequisite to start line
training, flying with certified instructors for a minimum total period of three
weeks until declared competent to perform the duties of an Etihad Airways pilot.
With Etihad Airways
rapid growth and fleet expansion, pilots on secondment enjoy a much accelerated
career progression path compared to other airlines. Importantly, they have the
opportunity to transfer permanently to a longer-term aviation career with the
The average time to
command at Etihad Airways is in the range of three years while it takes at
least 10 to 15 years to achieve the same position in most legacy carriers.
In addition, the UAE
national airline offers a much more varied career path with opportunities for
cross fleet transfers from Airbus to Boeing and narrow-body to wide-body
aircraft, as well as progression to a wide range of roles like flight
instructors, examiners, flight crew assessors and pilot management positions.
James Hogan, Etihad
Airways’ President and Chief Executive Officer, said: “Time after time, we
prove that our partnership strategy is truly a winning business model. Together
with our partners, we are sharing resources, incorporating our fleet programs,
aligning our staff expertise, and developing rewarding careers.
“Our pilot secondment
program is such an exciting and unique opportunity for pilots across our group
of partner airlines, many of whom have a wealth of experience and are
passionate about flying. We are able to put our pilots at the forefront of modern
aviation and look forward to welcoming many more to join our family.”
To date, 21 former
airberlin pilots have transferred to permanent roles with Etihad Airways,
flying Boeing 787 Dreamliner and Airbus A380 aircraft.
First Officer Julian
Kirrinnis was seconded to Etihad Airways from airberlin in September 2013. Having
worked for 24 years with two major commercial airlines in Germany, he has more
than 17,000 hours on the A310, A330-600 and A320 family in addition to the A330
on international route network. He has also worked as a simulator instructor on
the Airbus fleet for many years. Julian transferred to Etihad Airways in
November 2014 and worked on the airline’s A330 fleet performing both flying and
line training duties. He moved to the Airbus A380 fleet recently. Julian said: “Etihad
Airways offered me all the necessary training to join the A330 fleet and now
the A380. I did not hesitate to join the airline on a permanent contract
because of the future possibility to get an upgrade to Captain, the airline’s
strong growing fleet, the flexibility to change the fleet I operate on, and of
course I enjoy the cultural diversity and lifestyle in Abu Dhabi.”
First Officer Tim
Oschmann was also seconded to Etihad Airways from airberlin in January 2014 and
has recently transferred to Etihad Airways on a permanent basis. He previously
worked for three European operators, and upon joining Etihad Airways, had a
record of 6000 hours on Turboprobs, jet aircraft and the Boeing 737-800 series
aircraft. He completed the full Boeing 777 type rating training last year and is
currently undertaking the Boeing 787 training.
Tim said: “It did not
take me long to decide to join Etihad Airways. It is the fastest growing
airline in the world, offering rapid career prospects that would take much
longer to achieve in Europe. Working for Etihad Airways is a rewarding
experience. You get to travel the world, the package offered is competitive and
Abu Dhabi will pleasantly surprise you for what it has to offer.”
Also part of Etihad
Airways pilot secondment program, the airline sends its own pilots on
placements with partner airlines to expose them to new experiences and broaden
their career opportunities. Currently the airline has four of its pilots on
secondment to Air Serbia, two to Air Seychelles, one to Jet Airways, one to
Etihad Regional and one to Alitalia.
Richard Hill, Etihad
Airways Chief Operations Officer, said: “Safety and quality are paramount to
the continuing success of our Etihad Aviation Group and by integrating our
processes and systems, and through initiatives such as pilot secondments, we
are able to promote a just culture whilst enhancing safety standards through
the safety management systems across our partners.
“Having our combined
cross-group pilots working closely together presents an exceptional opportunity
to build a talented team of aviation leaders.
“I am delighted that
we are able to offer our pilots, who maintain the highest standards of safety
and professionalism in the industry, fantastic career progression opportunities
and I’m sure this will encourage even more pilots to apply to join our
secondment program for years to come."
Etihad Airways will
continue to enhance and expand its pilot secondment program, welcoming more
pilots from partner airlines in 2015 and beyond.