Etihad Pilots Can Now Fly Each Airbus A380 & A350

Whereas this doesn’t affect passengers a lot, as an aviation geek I discover this to be an fascinating growth.

Airline pilots are rated on particular plane

Typically talking, airline pilots are sort rated on particular jets, that means that they’re skilled to fly particular plane. That is smart, as a result of being a pilot is a extremely technical job, and requires loads of coaching and experience. Not solely do planes deal with in another way, however pilots are skilled for each doable emergency state of affairs on a selected airplane.

Pilots are skilled on particular plane sorts

That being stated, in some instances there’s a typical sort ranking between planes, that means that pilots can usually fly a number of kinds of plane:

  • At most airways, pilots can fly any variant of a selected sort of plane; in different phrases, a pilot would possibly fly the Airbus A320 household of plane, and that embrace the A319, A320, A321, A321neo, A321LR, and so forth.
  • When there’s sufficient cockpit commonality, pilots can generally additionally fly in any other case several types of jets; for instance, the 757 and 767 can have a typical sort ranking, as can the A330 and A350

Etihad Airways provides A380 & A350 pilot commonality

Etihad Airways has introduced that it has turn into one of many first airways on the earth to permit pilots to fly each the Airbus A380 and A350. As you’d anticipate, fairly a bit went into making this doable, together with introducing new coaching procedures in partnership with Airbus, and getting regulatory approval.

Whereas Etihad is likely one of the first airways to have blended fleet flying with the A380 and A350, it’s not the primary time we’ve seen an airline introduce flying commonality with the A380. In 2021, All Nippon Airways launched blended fleet flying between the A380 and A320, with the 2 plane having much more of a measurement distinction.

Right here’s how Etihad Chief Working Officer Mohammed Al Bulooki describes this growth:

“Etihad Airways is proud to be the one of many very first airways to qualify its pilots to fly each the Airbus A350 and A380. This achievement will improve the resilience and suppleness of the airline’s community and is testomony to our dedication to repeatedly push the boundaries of effectivity, innovation, and buyer satisfaction, and always making certain security is Etihad’s primary precedence.”

Over the previous decade, Etihad has obtained comparable approvals to qualify Airbus and Boeing pilots to interchangeably fly numerous plane sorts. For instance, the airline used to have blended fleet flying with the Airbus A320, A330, and A340, however these huge physique plane have been retired. In the meantime the airline continues to supply blended fleet flying between the Boeing 777 and 787.

Etihad Airbus A350

At present each Etihad’s A380 and A350 fleets are fairly small. Etihad flies simply 4 A380s, whereas the airline flies simply 5 A350s, although has 15 extra of these on order.

The advantages to Etihad of blended fleet flying are important. This permits much more environment friendly scheduling, since you may have a bigger pool of pilots who can fly both airplane, fairly than only one airplane. This permits airways to have widespread reserve pilots for each plane, permits pilots to maximise their hours in a given month, and so forth.

I’m certain most pilots will even love this. In spite of everything, Etihad’s A380 at the moment simply flies to London, and can quickly fly to New York. So Etihad A380 pilots don’t have a lot selection by way of the place they fly to. Their Heathrow Airport lodge is mainly their second residence.

Etihad Airbus A380

I do surprise how this works by way of pilot pay. At many airways, pay scales differ primarily based on how huge of a airplane you’re flying, after which seniority performs into which airplane you fly. With blended fleet flying, will pilots receives a commission extra when flying an A380 than an A320, or will there simply be a constant scale someplace within the center?

I do know Etihad has a distinct pay scale than carriers in the US, the place pilots get a month-to-month wage, plus a set quantity per flight hour.

Backside line

Due to new approval from the UAE’s Civil Aviation Authority, Etihad pilots at the moment are in a position to fly each the Airbus A380 and A350. Whereas the idea of a typical sort ranking between planes is regular, it’s fascinating how airways are stretching these rankings with planes which have important variations. Etihad now has widespread pilots for each the A380 and A350, and for each the 777 and 787.

This enchancment will make pilot scheduling extra environment friendly, and will save the airline a bit of cash. I think about many pilots will even get pleasure from having a bit extra selection by way of their schedule.

What do you make of this blended fleet flying growth at Etihad?

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