Etihad becomes one of the first to enable pilots to fly both A350 and A380 aircraft

Abu Dhabi, UAE – Etihad Airways, the national airline of the United Arab Emirates, has achieved another key milestone in pilot training and flight operations. After successfully obtaining rigorous regulatory approvals and completing thorough pilot training, Etihad has achieved the qualification for its pilots to seamlessly operate both Airbus A350 and A380 aircraft interchangeably. This milestone positions Etihad as one of the pioneering airlines globally to attain such versatility in its pilot capabilities.

Airline pilots are typically restricted to flying only one aircraft type. However, under certain conditions such as high similarity of flight deck, pilot procedures, and the implementation of special training, pilots may be enabled to operate two similar aircraft types through a dedicated programme approved by the aircraft manufacturer and the Civil Aviation Authority, known as ‘Mixed Fleet Flying’ or ‘MFF’.

Mohammad Al Bulooki, Chief Operating Officer at Etihad Airways said: “Etihad Airways is proud to be the one of the very first airlines to qualify its pilots to fly both the Airbus A350 and A380.

“This achievement will enhance the resilience and flexibility of the airline’s network and is testament to our commitment to continuously push the boundaries of efficiency, innovation, and customer satisfaction, and at all times ensuring safety is Etihad’s number one priority.”

Over the past decade, Etihad has obtained similar approvals to qualify its Airbus pilots to interchangeably fly the A320 and A330 types, A330 and A340 types, and its Boeing pilots to fly the 777 and 787 types, setting new standards for fleet commonality. Building on this legacy, the latest approval to fly both the Airbus A350 and A380 will further enhance the efficiency and flexibility of Etihad’s widebody network.

Etihad reports January 2024 traffic statistics

Also, Etihad Airways has published its preliminary traffic statistics for January 2024. The carrier welcomed more than 1.4 million guests onboard and saw its load factor average out at 86.04 per cent across the month.



Passenger load factor    

Fleet size


“In January 2024 we saw a 35 per cent year-on-year growth in customer numbers and were flying to five more destinations than the same period in 2023, making us one of the fastest growing airlines in the world,” said Antonoaldo Neves, CEO of Etihad Airways.

“We are meeting customer demand by adding more flights to key destinations, and Etihad is now offering almost 27% per cent more weekly departures for Summer 24 compared to last summer.

“We began the year by launching daily flights from Abu Dhabi (AUH) to Kozhikode (CCJ) and Thiruvananthapuram (TRV) in the Kerala region of India taking our total number of Indian gateways to 10.

“We are proud to have welcomed 1.4 million guests to our new home, Abu Dhabi’s Zayed International Airport, and we eagerly anticipate introducing more of the world to both the new airport and the onboard Etihad experience throughout 2024, as our network and frequencies continue to expand.”

The article Etihad becomes one of the first to enable pilots to fly both A350 and A380 aircraft first appeared in TravelDailyNews International.

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