IN FOCUS: Middle East Careers: Working as a simulator instructor

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Are you an experienced pilot keen to relocate to the Middle East, but unable or unwilling to continue working for an airline? A career with one of the region's fast-expanding training providers could be the answer.

Emirates CAE Flight Training (ECFT) in Dubai - a joint venture between the Canadian simulator manufacturer and the airline - is the original and by far the largest dedicated third-party simulator centre in the Gulf. Opened 10 years ago, it is part of Emirates' extensive training campus near Dubai International airport, where the carrier also has its own simulators.

Focused on the airline and the business and general aviation sectors, the joint venture operates 12 full-flight machines: two Boeing 777s and a 737NG/BBJ and an Airbus A320/ACJ on the civil side. Its business jet machines comprise a Dassault Falcon 7X and 900EX/2000EX, a Bombardier Global Express (with a Challenger 604/605 joining it later this year), a Gulfstream IV and V and two Hawker Beechcraft 800/850s. For the helicopter sector, there is a Bell 412/212.

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 ©CAE

ECFT operates 12 full-flight simulators

ECFT's presence in Dubai will expand further with the opening in the third quarter of this year of a second centre in the city's Silicon Oasis. Emirates offshoot and Boeing 737 operator Flydubai has been signed as anchor client. The business will provide wet training using ECFT instructors and dry training with Flydubai's own instructors using the equipment. Flydubai has orders for 50 aircraft and plans to recruit 400 pilots over the next four years.

Initially, the centre will house four 737 simulators, but there are plans to expand that to as many as 10 bays, says ECFT, with 737 and Airbus A320 family machines offered.

ECFT's other customers include most of the major airlines, as well as many of the region's business aviation and helicopter operators. Its client base stretches to India, where there is a shortage of simulator training provision, and to North Africa.

"We expect demand for training to continue growing as customers here recruit pilots from all over the world," says Camille Mariamo, CAE's managing director, commercial training and simulation for the Middle East and India.

He admits that finding instructors to meet the growing capacity could be a "challenge", although he says that with flexible hours and a fixed workplace, the job is ideal for "experienced pilots who may have decided to let go the flying part" either for medical reasons or because they want a job that does not require travel". So far, he says, "we've been successful in finding these".