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Emirates confirms campaign to hire Australian aircrew

written by Isabella Richards | September 17, 2021
An Emirates A380-861, A6-EDE, as shot by Victor Pody
An Emirates A380-861, A6-EDE, as shot by Victor Pody

Emirates has confirmed it has begun a campaign to recruit Australian cabin crew to join its Dubai hub, in a bid to restore 70 per cent of its pre-pandemic capacity.

The company said in a press release today it will begin hiring 3,000 cabin crew and 500 airport services employees globally over the next six months.

It comes only a week after Australian Aviation broke the news that US airlines and Emirates were pursuing locked-down Australian pilots and will add to concerns the country could face an aviation staff shortage when flying resumes.

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Boeing warned earlier this year that if current trends continue, the global industry will be short of 600,000 pilots alone by 2040, with the problem thought to be particularly acute in Australia. Experts have consistently warned COVID has exacerbated this long-term problem through a combination of redundancies, early retirements and curtailment of hiring pilots into entry-level positions.

Over the past few months as the United Arab Emirates restores its travel industry, the airline has begun recalling its pilots and cabin crew who were stood down during the flight drought last year.

“The rapid vaccination roll-out … and clear pandemic protocols have enabled Dubai to quickly and safely re-open to international tourism and business activities since July 2020,” the company said.

In total, 81 per cent of the UAE has been double-jabbed by the COVID-19 vaccine, one of the leading nations spearheading the rollout.

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Last week, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) confirmed Emirates carried the most passengers in 2020 because of its rapid response to the vaccination and the health pass.

The Dubai-based airline said it carried over 15.8 million passengers over the 12-month period according to 2021 statistics.

Australia’s aviation industry has faced several hurdles in the past few months, as continuous lockdowns plague the COVID-19 travel recovery.

Captain Murray Butt, the president of the Australian and International Pilots Association, told Australian Aviation last week the state of the local industry is making employees reassess their options.

A Senate enquiry examining how COVID had affected aviation last week heard evidence that “thousands” denied government support would leave the industry.

“People simply cannot be stood down, indefinitely, without pay,” said TWU national secretary Michael Kaine on Monday.

“They won’t be able to support their families and so they will leave the industry.”

Captain Louise Pole, president of the Australian Federation of Air Pilots, said in the Senate inquiry “wages will be very high” overseas, which could also lure skilled pilots away from Australia.

“As we’ve seen through other crisis in the aviation industry, where [pilots] have been unable to obtain employment in Australia, they will travel around the world to gain work,” Pole said.

Murray Butt said the crew shortage was beginning just before the pandemic, and if the “aviation industry returns quickly, [the] problem is going to be worse”.

Emirates said by the end of the year it will also bring back its A380 aircraft to curb the travel demand – one of the last remaining airlines to operate the type.

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