Etihad becomes one of the first airlines to have pilots flying the A350 and A380 

Etihad Airways first Airbus A380 out of storage arrived at Abu Dhabi International Airport (AUH)
Fasttailwind /

Etihad Airways, the national airline of the United Arab Emirates, has become one of the first airlines to achieve regulatory approval allowing its pilots to fly both the A350 and A380 after the successful completion of training. The approval will allow crews to fly both types within the company fleet interchangeably, increasing flexibility for crew deployment and introducing synergies within the airline’s crew planning function. 

Achieving this milestone positions Etihad as one of the pioneering airlines globally to attain such versatility in its pilot workforce’s capabilities. 

Generally, commercial airline pilots are normally restricted to flying just one aircraft type within their employer’s fleet. Adding other type ratings to a license has both a cost implication and a training burden as this means two type ratings need to be kept valid. 

However, if certain conditions are met, such as high similarity of the aircraft flight deck, pilot procedures, and the implementation of special training, pilots can be permitted to operate two similar aircraft types, such as the A350 and A380 in Etihad’s case. Permission for allowing this activity (known as ‘Mixed Fleet Flying’ or ‘MFF’) is only granted through a dedicated program approved by the aircraft manufacturer and the national aviation regulatory bodies such as the UAE Civil Aviation Authority.  

“Etihad Airways is proud to be one of the very first airlines to qualify its pilots to fly both the Airbus A350 and A380,” said Mohammad Al Bulooki, Chief Operating Officer at Etihad Airways.  

“This achievement will enhance the resilience and flexibility of the airline’s network and is a testament to our commitment to continuously push the boundaries of efficiency, innovation, and customer satisfaction, and at all times ensuring safety is Etihad’s number one priority,” he added. 

Carlos Yudica / Shutterstock

Over the past 10 years, Etihad has obtained similar approvals to qualify its Airbus pilots to fly the A320 and A330 types interchangeably, as well as the A330 and A340, and the Boeing 777 and 787 fleets.   

According to the carrier, “building on this legacy, the latest approval to fly both the Airbus A350 and A380 will further enhance the efficiency and flexibility of Etihad’s widebody network.” 

Abu-Dhabi-based Etihad currently operates five 371-seat Airbus A350-1000s with an average age of 4.5 years in its fleet, plus four 498-seat A380-800s with an average age of 7.7 years. 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Related Posts


Stay updated on aviation and aerospace - subscribe to our newsletter!