After largely closing its doors to new recruits during the 2009 downturn, Emirates plans to hire more than 700 pilots over the next 18 months to support new routes and aircraft.
The airline has embarked on a recruitment roadshow that will take in much of Europe, Africa, Asia and the Americas. It kicked off on 4 June in Madrid, one of six new destinations this year. It has already begun services from Dubai to Tokyo and Amsterdam, with Prague, Baghdad and Dakar to follow.
Emirates - which has a 147-strong fleet with six aircraft due to arrive this year, part of 144 on order - traditionally recruits only first officers.
Capt Alan Stealey, divisional senior vice-president flight operations, says Emirates is recruiting at a time when much of the industry is cutting back. The airline recently took delivery of its ninth Airbus A380 and will accept number 10 within days.
"That's two giant aircraft to staff in the space of a fortnight," he says. "By the end of the year we will have recruited more than 250 pilots. Next year, we're looking to double that figure and recruit 500."