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“Etihad Airways Announces Major Expansion Plans: Set to Recruit 2,000 Staff Amidst Fleet Growth”

Etihad Airways Announces Major Expansion Plans: Set to Recruit 2,000 Staff Amidst Fleet Growth

In a bid to bolster its operations and accommodate its expansion plans, Abu Dhabi-based Etihad Airways has revealed its intention to hire up to 2,000 pilots, cabin crew, and mechanics throughout the current year. This strategic move comes in anticipation of the airline’s ambitious growth projections for 2025, during which it plans to integrate an additional 15 aircraft into its fleet.

Antonoaldo Neves, CEO of Etihad Airways, affirmed the airline’s recruitment plans, stating, “We’re going to be hiring about 1,500 to 2,000 people this year to prepare for 2025. In 2025, we are getting 15 more planes. And I need pilots, mechanics, and flight attendants for those planes. So, the second half of this year is going to be all about training pilots and flight attendants for 2025.”

Etihad Airways aims to ramp up its flight frequencies, expand its route network, and capitalize on the positive momentum observed in passenger traffic over recent years. Notably, the airline’s passenger load factor surged to 86 percent in 2023, up from 82 percent in 2022, indicative of a growing demand for its services.

On the heels of announcing its 2023 results, which showcased a total revenue of Dh20.3 billion and a net profit of Dh525 million, Etihad Airways is strategically positioned to capitalize on its financial stability to fuel its expansion efforts. With a Dh1.4 billion operating result, driven by a Dh4 billion year-on-year growth in passenger revenue, the airline is poised for further growth.

Despite the optimistic outlook, Neves highlighted challenges posed by the current shortage of aircraft in the market, resulting in soaring load factors. He elaborated, “I want more people flying. For that, I want more planes. The lack of planes in the market is a problem. So, that’s making the load factors very high. In March, in six days, my load factors are 92 percent. It’s crazy.”

Looking ahead, Neves expressed confidence in Etihad Airways’ ability to triple its passenger numbers from 10 million in 2022 to over 30 million by 2030. Emphasizing the airline’s growth trajectory, he remarked, “We’re on the right track to triple the size of the airline and catch about 30 to 33 million passengers in the next six years.”

In a concerted effort to foster Emirati talent and promote national workforce development, Etihad Airways is dedicated to Emiratisation initiatives. The airline offers specialized development programs, cadet pilot training, and technical engineering courses to nurture local talent. Neves articulated his vision for the airline’s workforce composition, stating, “I would have at least one-third of the pilots being Emiratis. They’re great pilots. They love to carry the flag across the globe.”

With plans to recruit 300 pilots annually, Etihad Airways aims to see a substantial increase in Emirati representation within its ranks. Neves expressed his optimism, asserting, “We hope to see 35 to 40 percent Emirati pilots. I have 300 pilots per year, and I want at least 70 to 100 to be Emiratis. It’s difficult. Pilots are very difficult to find, but we are on the right track.”

As Etihad Airways embarks on this expansive journey, its commitment to fostering local talent and driving sustainable growth underscores its pivotal role in shaping the aviation landscape of the UAE and beyond.

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