UAE jobs: Aviation sector hiring at all-time high as travel demand surges post Covid
Shortage of staff in the industry is huge, according to official
Applications to the Emirates Aviation University have almost doubled to the pre-pandemic levels as hiring in the aviation sector has reached an all-time high.
“The shortage of skilled staff in the aviation industry has created huge opportunities for employment,” said Dr Ahmad Al Ali, Vice Chancellor of Emirates Aviation Industry (EAU).
This year, EAU has received almost 3,000 applicants – nearly double the number of applications it had for the 2019- 2020 academic year- for its various undergraduate program. Dr Al Ali said there are many reasons why Dubai is seeing such a huge demand for aviation courses. He said, “Whenever there is a downturn, the aviation industry is one of the first to experience a rebound.”
He added, “Given that the UAE, and particularly in Dubai, is such a hub with four major airlines, it is only natural that more people want to study aviation.”
Demand is greater than supply
The recently released Pilot and Technician Outlook by Boeing has predicted that there will be a demand for over 2 million new aviation personnel over the next 20 years to safely support the recovery of commercial air travel and meet rising long-term growth. The Middle East alone will need over 200,000 pilots, technicians and cabin crew during this period.
“The shortage in the aviation industry is huge, to be honest,” said Dr Al Ali. “The industry is struggling for aircraft maintenance, engineers and mechanics. There is also a shortage of staff in airports and airport security. It could be years before the gap between demand and supply can be bridged.”
However, he added that the emirate of Dubai has been fortunate not to face a shortage of staff in the industry because of the city’s ability to rebound quickly. “The impact on UAE is significantly lower than Europe and other regions of the world, partly because we graduate about 400-500 students every year,” he said.
In 2021, the university placed 84% of its graduates in various companies like Dubai Aerospace Enterprise, Airbus and Boeing, apart from Emirates.
Post pandemic impact
Since the Covid-19 pandemic, there has been a shift in focus with lessons learnt during pandemic is now being incorporated into the courses at EAU.
“Mathematical modelling, date sciences and artificial intelligence (AI) is something we are really stressing on in our program,” Dr. Al Ali said. “These are three subjects that go hand in hand and will play a huge role in the future in industries like healthcare and aviation.”
“This is especially because of what happening during the pandemic. Mathematical modelling really played a huge rule during Covid for decision makers. Even now countries are relying heavily on modelling. Data is available but how do you interpret it to get the best out of it? Graduates need to learn these skills.”
In addition to this, the institute is also focusing on research projects. The EAU permits students to work on projects in collaboration with other Emirates entities like Dnata to find solutions for real-world problems. “One of the issues we worked on involved optimizing traffic flow from an airplane into the airport,” he said. “We also now have a PhD program that focuses on mathematical modelling,” he said.
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