Israir To Use Etihad Simulators To Train Its Airbus A320 Pilots

Pilots at Israel’s third-largest airline, Tel Aviv-based Israir, are set to have their training boosted by increased simulator access. The news comes as a result of the signing of a deal between the carrier and UAE’s second flag carrier, Etihad. The partnership will see Israir dry-lease Etihad Aviation Training’s Full-Flight simulators at its Abu Dhabi training facility.

Israir, UAE Flights, Peace Deal
Israir pilots will be able to train on a simulator at Etihad’s facility in Abu Dhabi. Photo: Getty Images

Comprehensive training services

As reported earlier today by TradeArabia, Etihad Airways has agreed to offer simulator training to pilots at Israir. The Israeli carrier will dry-lease the Full-Flight simulator at Etihad’s Zayed Campus in Abu Dhabi. This means that it will still have to provide its own instructors for the training. Nonetheless, it represents a significant step forward in UAE-Israeli aviation relations.

Regarding the new partnership, Etihad Aviation Training’s (EAT) Managing Director, Captain Paolo La Cava, stated:

“Continuing our commitment to providing highly skilled pilots by offering state-of-the-art training facilities, EAT is looking forward to working with Israir Airlines and is anticipating further collaboration with the airline to cement this landmark agreement.”

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Israir To Use Etihad Simulators To Train Its Airbus A320 Pilots
The Airbus A320 makes up over half (four aircraft out of seven) of the Israir Airlines fleet. Photo: Getty Images

Israir’s CEO Uri Sirkis has cited the EAT training facility’s geographical convenience as a key factor in the deal. He has shown optimism towards what the project means, both for training his pilots and the relationship between the UAE and Israel as a whole. He states:

“The EAT simulator facility [is] just a three-hour flight away from Israel. Beyond the economic and professional benefits, I believe that the more meeting points we find between the countries, the stronger the tourism movement will be.”

An extensive facility

Etihad’s Zayed Campus represents a sizeable training facility for commercial pilots. It has already partnered with more than 40 airlines, offering Full-Flight simulators for both Airbus and Boeing aircraft. Additionally, it provides trainee pilots with more specialized aspects, such as training in flight navigation procedures.

etihad and el al sign MOU
Etihad has also recently entered a partnership with Israeli flag carrier El Al concerning codeshare agreements. Photo: Getty Images

Zayed Campus is one of the Middle East’s largest training facilities, and caters for more than just pilots. Indeed, among its other offerings are training for cabin crew and maintenance staff. The campus is located at the periphery of Etihad’s hub at Abu Dhabi International Airport (AUH).

Part of a wider international partnership

The Israir training deal represents the latest in a series of steps being taken to build aviation relations between Israel and the UAE. For example, last month, Israir became the first Israeli carrier to operate a commercial flight into Dubai.

Etihad Airways Boeing 787
Etihad plans to commence its Abu Dhabi-Tel Aviv services in March. Photo: Getty Images

Etihad also announced a new route from Abu Dhabi to Tel Aviv at the end of last year. This reflects the recent normalization of diplomatic ties between Israel and the UAE. It will also give Israelis greater onward connectivity through Etihad’s Abu Dhabi hub. The new service is set to commence in March 2021. The carrier is also eyeing potential codeshare agreements with Israeli flag carrier El Al.

Dubai-based Emirates, the UAE’s largest airline and flag carrier, is also expected to begin serving Tel Aviv next month. In preparation for this new service, the airline has already established a kosher catering facility in the UAE to facilitate appropriate meal service on these flights.