Etihad Airways Pilots Can Fly Both A380 & A350

Daniel Fowkes
15 Feb 2024
· Aircraft 
· Airlines 
Etihad Airways pilots who fly the Airbus A350 have now been certified to fly the A380 and vice versa in another groundbreaking move.

Etihad Airways has announced it’ll be one of the first airlines to allow pilots to fly not just the Airbus A350 but also the world’s largest passenger plane, the Airbus A380.

Following what is described as rigorous regulatory approvals and substantial pilot training, the airline says the qualification has been achieved to allow pilots to operate the A350 and A380.

As a result, pilots can transition seamlessly between the two aircraft and thus see the airline pioneer pilot capabilities and asset usage across its company.

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’snumber one priority.

Mohammad Al Bulooki, Chief Operating Officer at Etihad Airways

Etihad highlights how, typically, airline pilots will stick to one aircraft type with the potential to move to another aircraft later in their career.

However, Etihad also says that thanks to today’s high similarities between flight decks and noticeable enhancements to training processes, the airline can offer more flexibility to its pilots through MFF or mixed fleet flying.

Not only has this been approved by the Civil Aviation Authority, but it has also been approved directly by Airbus, the manufacturer of these two aircraft types.

Not A First For Etihad

For Etihad Airways, while the compatibility between the A350 and A380 makes headlines, it’s not a first for the Abu Dhabi-based airline.

Etihad has previously obtained the necessary approval to see pilots of Airbus aircraft be able to interchange across several types, such as the A320 and A330, and then upwards to the A340 and A330.

Additionally, the company has highlighted the ability for Boeing pilots to transition towards the 777 if on the 787 and vice versa.

Ultimately, these extra measures enhance operational efficiency and flexibility across the Etihad network and the airline, keeping its pilot base fresh and willing to expand its scope.

Etihad Airways A350 & A380 Fleet

Fleet data indicates that Etihad Airways 5 Airbus A350-1000s are currently in service, averaging 4.5 years. Initially, the acquisition of this type came with much uncertainty, order reductions and delays.

This was directly caused by the massive splurge on fancy next-generation aircraft in the early to mid-2010s by the airline as it looked to expand rapidly, which subsequently caused its downfall and significant losses.

Meanwhile, the Airbus A380 fleet has been rebuilt to 4 in-service units, with the initial sole intent of flying between Abu Dhabi and Heathrow, soon to include Boston.

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