Information was confirmed overnight that Emirates, Dubais award winning airline, was once again on the prowl in Eastern Africa and in fact across the continent, to recruit 4.500 pilots, cabin crew, engineering, ground handling, operations, IT and other staff, urgently needed to back up the planned expansion of fleet and destinations in coming years. The airlines Regional Manager for Eastern Africa, Mr. Sulaiman Essa Ahmad revealed in a media communiqué to this correspondent that Emirates currently employs over 1.000 Kenyans in a variety of positions, which include, according to the lastest figures provided, 10 pilots, 430 cabin crew and over 600 personnel deployed in a range of other areas including engineering. Said Mr. Sulaiman: We need around 4,000 cabin crew in this fiscal year plus hundreds of pilots and other operational staff as well. We do not have specific targets for certain countries but instead looking to hire qualified candidates who can meet Emirates high level of competence. Kenyans are well represented in our talent pool and theyve demonstrated a good measure of competence and drive. This is yet another opportunity for those wishing to work for Emirates to apply before adding: Emirates cabin crews are trained to deliver exceptional customer services experience on every flight. Thus, in addition to the requirement above, the candidate should demonstrate a positive attitude and empathy for others, a strong cultural awareness and the ability to adapt to new environments and people, flexibility and the motivation to manage a demanding work schedule, and qualities necessary to live up to the mission and values that Emirates holds in high regard i.e. professional, empathetic, progressive, visionary, cosmopolitan.
The airline presently receives one additional wide bodied aircraft every month and currently flies to 123 destinations with their 171 aircraft now in service.
Meanwhile has one airline executive responded to questions posed to him by email, saying: Last year we faced a situation where Kenya Airways openly advertised for pilots to join them and that was targeting our captains and first officers. Engineering staff, cabin crew, operations staff are all siphoned away by the big league with better terms and conditions. When the bond arrangements for pilots and other staff trained at our expense expire, we always face a difficult situation if they stay or succumb to offers from other airlines.
Africa is a resource pool, not just for minerals and other riches but now also for well trained staff. Reasons for that are often the political circumstances which are not in favour of top professionals wishing to stay and the opportunities to work as an expatriate especially in the Gulf. Highly qualified staff get paid well, can send money home and us local airlines find it difficult to match terms and conditions. In fact it makes our life much more difficult. We not only compete against the big fish in our own pond which is hard enough as it is, now the Gulf airlines are adding to this. And it is not Emirates alone, every airline now flying from the Gulf to Kenya is looking at recruitments from here. Kenyans are well educated, keen workers with good work ethics and ambitious but this strength is also now a threat to smaller airlines because there simply are not enough training academies to bring up new pilots and the expansion of Gulf airlines is faster than anyone can produce new flying school graduates. So they recruit in the open market.
Truly two sides to this coin and as repeatedly referred to here in previous articles, this contentious issue will not go away, considering that Kenya Airways is intent to triple their fleet by 2021 and has already been given green light to recruit expatriate captains themselves to alleviate the looming shortage of cockpit crews. For aviation professionals from Eastern Africa though, this is the time of milk and honey it seems with added opportunities and options how to advance their careers. Watch this space.