An Interview With Emirates Captain Adrian Dando

In parallel with the start of the cabin upgrade of 67 Airbus A380 aircraft and 53 Boeing 777 aircraft, Emirates is actively recruiting first officers. Among these initiatives, Simple Flying recently caught up with Adrian Dando, one of the Dubai-based airline’s captains, to learn more.

With Emirates serving more than 130 destinations on its network, offering pilots the opportunity to fly and serve passengers all over the world, there are plenty of options. Therefore, we wanted to hear about the position from one of the operator’s own staff members.

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Today’s video simply

Sumit Singh: How did you adapt to the recovery period following the initial downturn of the epidemic?

Adrian Dando: The transition period after the initial downturn of the epidemic was not easy. There was still a lot of uncertainty, but I’m happy to be in a place where I can see travel returning to pre-pandemic levels soon. Thanks to Revenge Travel, Emirates has restored over 90% of our pre-pandemic network.

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Emirates firmly believes that providing first class service to your customers starts with taking care of your people.

SS: Please tell us about your favorite features of the Boeing 777

AD: I really like the 777-300ER planes. Equipped with the powerful GE90-115B, the world’s largest twin engine capable of 115,540 pounds of thrust, the 777-300ER’s takeoff performance is my favorite part of the flight. There is no other airline with as many 777s as Emirates!

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Aside from the brilliant engineering behind the aircraft, I also love the design of our cabin spaces, and I look forward to the updates made as part of the recently announced 120 aircraft overhaul program.

Emirates Retrofit Infographic

Photo: The Emirates

SS: What are your overall thoughts on the $2 billion investment in improving the cabin experience?

AD: This is great news for Emirates and our customers, and it makes me proud to work for the airline. We are a very customer-centric airline, and the fact that Emirates is reinventing itself and improving its offering keeps the airline ahead of everything else. Whether traveling in first class, business class or economy class, our customers, including staff, families and friends, get to enjoy an elevated experience throughout the customer’s journey, including the updated cabin interior, new menus, an improved cinema in the sky for the champagne and caviar experience in first class.

We have 120 aircraft across our A380 and 777 fleet to be installed by April 2025. The exciting part is that the renewed aircraft will feature the most popular premium economy seats.

Emirates Retrofit

Photo: The Emirates

SS: What are some of the benefits of working with the airline?

AD: Working with Emirates has given me the opportunity to enjoy a great lifestyle and establish myself in one of the most desirable cities in the world. Besides the tax-free salary, we enjoy a generous hospitality and education allowance provided by the company, excellent medical and dental coverage and life insurance.

My family and I also get to enjoy discounted travel benefits that allow us to discover new destinations together while traveling in premium class, and we can also extend discounted tickets to our friends. Additional benefits we enjoy include chauffeur-driven transportation between home and service. As Emirates Group employees, we also enjoy other benefits such as discounts at hundreds of retail stores and hotels in the UAE and at many resorts around the world.

SS: Please tell us more about the journey to becoming a pilot with Emirates.

AD: When I was shortlisted for this role, they invited me and my wife to visit Dubai and the Emirates and see the facilities. Emirates recognizes that moving to another country is daunting and does a great job supporting that transition.

The airline provides an accommodation allowance to chartered pilots in the UAE and abroad and allows you to choose where to live in Dubai. When I first moved, there was strong support throughout the journey until we were well settled.

SS: Is there anything else you want to highlight about the role?

AD: For those with children, rest assured knowing that the standards of education here are exceptional, with internationally accredited schools attracting the best teachers worldwide for those moving in with families.

Dubai as a place to work and live is a dream come true. The city is safe, secure, vibrant and high-tech. Major annual sporting events, a whole range of lifestyle activities, world-class hospitality and dining, spectacular attractions and excellent infrastructure make it a brilliant choice for an ex-partner considering relocating.

Emirates pilots

Photo: The Emirates

SS: What advice would you give to aspiring pilots?

AD: I think there is no better time than now to start a career in aviation, and there is no better airline than Emirates! Incidentally, we have an active pilot recruitment drive in the UK at the moment where first officers can apply and get the opportunity to fly our total fleet across an ever-expanding global route network.

Moreover, we recently launched the accelerated command program. This is a unique opportunity for current captains of other airlines to join as an Emirates A380 First Officer on an enhanced pay package with accelerated command upgrade. Assuming you meet the standards and show the required level of performance, this means you can become an A380 captain within two years.

What do you think of these initiatives? Let us know what you think in the comments section.

  • Emirates, Airbus A380, penultimate


    IATA/ICAO code:
    EK/United Arab Emirates

    Airline type:
    Full service carrier

    Dubai International Airport

    Year of foundation:

    Ahmed bin Said Al Maktoum

    United Arab Emirates


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