It has always been entertaining to observe a global rivalry, whether it is between media brands or the production and services companies around us. Here, in this article we don’t actually look into a rivalry of the sort, rather we are going somewhat deep in the effects that this particular rivalry can have. We are talking about Airbus and Boeing. ‘Airbus’ being a European-based aircraft producer while ‘Boeing’ is American-based both companies get most of their plane fuel from the Middle East. And while Middle East is such generous in the providing somewhat millions of tons of oil to these companies, has recently ordered a huge line of Aircrafts, most probably the 777s and 747s from Boeing and A380s from Airbus, in a recently held event called the Paris Air Show some time ago.
Not relating to this, certain news came to our attention in February when Airbus’s A400Ms, premium military transport planes, were ordered in a quantity of 50-100 by MENA. Popularity was tearing the roof, and as expected the on-coming Air shows will see Airbus smashing orders worth billions of dollars. And the expectations were true. In the Paris Air Show of 2011, Airbus received $72.2 billion worth of Aircraft orders, with a grand total of 730 aircrafts. A previous order of 667 orders received by Air bus in December 2010 added to the total of 1029 aircraft orders.
Now, how is all of the above science-fiction, or should it be Science-Fact, related to United Arab Emirates? It is simply because most of the above Airbus orders were from UAE airlines. Airlines like Emirates, Qatar Airways and Etihad contributed to this massively.
Let’s elaborate UAE’s cheque-book for this purpose. ‘Emirates’ has ordered 199 aircrafts, worth 242 Dirham ($66 billion). Qatar Airways has 182 planes on order from Airbus and Boeing. Etihad has the largest order of 205 aircrafts, dividing between 100 finalized orders, 55 optional with 50 purchase rights.FlyDubai and Air Arabia are also in the lead with 50 Boeing 737s for FlyDubai and Air Arabia expects 55 new aircrafts by 2015.
Now what needed here is a substantial supply of pilots, because of course we need the guitar players for the guitars to produce the music we want to hear. Question is how to recruit or even prepare such a colossal supply of pilots for the aircrafts that will be flying round the globe in a few years. So how will the Gulf airlines fill a gap of nearly 1700 pilots for the near future, is the POI here. The Aviation colleges prepare or train a thousand pilots in a year, and that is a critical shortage for these aircraft service companies, a fact that was pointed out by the Saudi Aviation Flight Academy.
Captain Samir Kohli, a professional figure in Middle Eastern Pilot Personnel, clearly portrayed that the ‘problem’ is that they (pilots) are just not enough. To train even a handful of pilot, at least a time span of 5 to 10 years is needed. It will be a good show on the media to see how The Middle East pulls this off.