Middle East supplement: skilled applicants flock to flydubai

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A year ago, Gulf-based airlines fretted about a skills shortage and having to pay over the odds to find pilots. Now the situation has reversed, with Emirates offshoot flydubai "inundated" with 8,000 applications for 61 captains and 18 first officers jobs. It has also recruited 80 cabin crew from 3,500 CVs received.

The first group of 24 captains and 21 cabin crew are being trained ahead of the start of services in a few months' time.

Kenneth Gile, chief operating officer, says crew selection is complete. "We are extremely pleased with the talent of the pilots we have on board. On average, they each have more than 4,000h serving as captain in similar aircraft and a total experience of more than 8,000 flying hours - this is impressive."

The government-owned airline, run independently from Emirates, is tapping chiefly into the market of lower-paid expatriate workers from countries within a 4.5h flying distance of the Gulf.

flydubai 737
 © FlyDubai

Initially, flydubai will operate from Dubai International airport's terminal 2 before a likely move to the giant Maktoum International at Jebel Ali. It aims to have a fleet of five Boeing 737-800s - configured with 189 economy-class seats - by the end of its first year, and will have taken delivery of all 50 aircraft announced at last year's Farnborough air show by 2015. It competes with Air Arabia, which flies from Sharjah, as well as Jazeera, based in Kuwait.