UAE students presented with unmatched opportunities

With the regional business aviation industry set to need 1.2 million pilots, technicians and engineers in the next two decades, the MEBAA Show today played host to hundreds of students interested in pursuing a career in the Middle East and North Africa's growing business aviation sector.

Ali Ahmed Alnaqbi, Founding Chairman of the Middle East & North Africa Business Aviation Association, said: “While the regional business aviation sector is still seeing healthy growth, our biggest issue is people. Human talent is required across all aspects of the industry.

“As well as representing the current concerns of the Middle East and North Africa business aviation community, we must also help ensure the continuing, and future success of the regional industry, which is forecast to be worth US1.3 billion by 2020.

“We can only do this by ensuring we encourage and attract good people into our industry. It is gratifying to see many operators and manufacturers working with local universities to build strong bridges between education and employment.”

Launched at the MEBAA Show in 2014, Futures Day provides a valuable opportunity for students interested in business aviation careers to meet some of the sector's major players, and hear from industry-leading figures and companies.

Josh Stewart, Founder and CEO of XJet, the global private jet owners club, opened the Futures Day event by telling the gathered students and trainees: “I am envious, you are entering a golden era for engineers and pilots. We will see tremendous growth here, and with hard work, you will all have fantastic career opportunities.”

Stewart is behind plans to open a new XJet FBO at DWC, which he says will need 50-60 people across all disciplines to run.

“We are looking for passionate people, people with drive – if you are interested in aviation, the world is your oyster right now. I would encourage you all to consider a career in business aviation. It's an exciting, interesting and extremely viable career.”

He stressed that the industry needs not only pilots, engineers and cabin crew, but also  offers huge opportunities in all the ancillary services, such as management, flight support, marketing and HR.

“It is good to know MEBAA is working towards addressing the human talent gap, by shining a light on the issue,” concluded the CEO.

Another key speaker addressing the future business aviation audience was Dana Salloum, Communications Director of Boeing Middle East and Africa, who highlighted that the Middle East and North Africa is one of the world's fastest growing aviation sectors.

She told Futures Day delegates that Boeing is always looking out for talented people, but noted the lack of STEM education and the dire need to ensure a future flow of engineers and pilots.

Boeing also took advantage of the Futures Day audience to announce a six-month paid internship for interested UAE residents to work with Boeing in Seattle.

Salloum continued, “This is a very real opportunity. You will be working, learning and earning the same as our US interns.”

Following the Futures Day conference, the students visited the MEBAA Show, taking the opportunity to meet and talk with some of the 460 exhibitors, as well as touring the 45 aircraft on static display at the purpose-built site.

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