Emirates is investing $135 million in a new training facility that will accommodate six Full Flight Simulator Bays (FFSB) for the Boeing 777X and Airbus A350-900s it has on order. The new complex, which is adjacent to the existing training facilities should open in a year from now in March 2024.
The investment confirms the airline’s commitment to the Boeing 777X after previous comments from President and CEO Tim Clark that Emirates could even consider canceling the order, which was placed at the 2013 Dubai Airshow. It revised the order six years later. Emirates has 115 on firm order plus 61 options but doesn’t specify the number of 777-9s and the yet-to-be-launched -8s. A few aircraft have been assembled but are in storage until they can be prepared for delivery, which is not expected before early 2025.
Clark said last year that he was not amused by the continued delays of the program, which has been running late since regulatory agencies requested Boeing to do a number of design modifications. The lack of visibility as to when the 777-9 will be certified made Emirates unsure as to when it should commit to investing in training facilities and simulators.
“This US$ 135 million investment to build a new pilot training center will ensure Emirates’ readiness to commence its pilot training ahead of the delivery of its new aircraft fleet starting from 2024. The building will be equipped with the latest, technologically advanced simulators to provide the best training for pilots, while using solar power to reduce energy consumption,” Emirates Chairman and CEO, Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum is saying in a press statement.
Deliveries of the fifty Airbus A350-900s have also slipped a year. When the order was announced at the 2019 Dubai Airshow, Emirates said it would take delivery between May 2023 through 2028. Today’s press release says that the new training center will be ready in time to start training the first batch of A350 pilots in June 2024. Expect the first deliveries around then.
Once completed, the new facility grows Emirates’ pilot training capabilities to seven full-flight simulators. It also has a dedicated Flight Training Academy for junior pilots at Dubai World Central and it own Emirates Cabin Crew Training Center, plus an Aviation University.
Active as a journalist since 1987, with a background in newspapers, magazines, and a regional news station, Richard has been covering commercial aviation on a freelance basis since late 2016.
Richard is contributing to AirInsight since December 2018. He also writes for Airliner World, Aviation News, Piloot & Vliegtuig, and Luchtvaartnieuws Magazine. Twitter: @rschuur_aero.