Monday, March 09, 2009

Etihad Airways: A bright spot amidst the gloom?

Etihad AirwaysFor the better part of a year, a continuing theme in aviation news stories has been capacity reduction, with concomitant reductions in staff, but it looks as though Etihad Airways may be bucking that trend. Etihad, which currently employs about 7,000 people, plans to increase its work force by 5% this year.

A story about Etihad Airways on the Emirates Business 24/7 website quoted airline official Dr. Salwa Al Nuaimi, who said, "We are not firing anybody and we also didn't freeze our recruitment. We are taking care of our people and we are trying to utilise them more." Dr. Al Nuaimi is Etihad's Vice-President, Talent Acquisition, Human Resources.

Etihad is actively seeking to increase the number of Emerati nationals it employs. Currently Emiratis comprise only 3% of Etihad's work force, however the airline is providing training in technical, engineering, cadet pilot and managerial programs in order attract more local citizens into the business.

In 2007, Etihad's pilot training program made history by accepting two women as cadets. They will graduate in April of this year.

Etihad also encourages Emiratis to join the airline's award-winning cabin crew team, according to Dr. Al Nuaimi.
"Hopefully in the next two to three years we can see local cabin crew on Etihad," she said. "You see, the UAE is changing all the time. Nobody thought that we would have two female pilots."
Etihad Airways is headquartered in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, and is backed financially by the government of Abu Dhabi.