Emirates and Etihad, the two major carriers of the United Arab Emirates, plan to create almost 60,000 new jobs over the next decade to meet their rapid growth, a newspaper reported on Sunday.
"It took us 25 years to get to 40,000 employees, but in the next 10 years we will double that to 80,000," the Abu-Dhabi based newspaper The National quoted Rick Helliwell, vice president of recruitment at Emirates, as saying.
He said the Dubai-based carrier, the largest in the Middle East, will actually require 60,000 new employees over the decade, after factoring in current staff who retire or move on.
Abu Dhabi-based Etihad Airways, which currently has 8,000 employees, will need to increase its workforce to 27,000 staff by 2020 when all its planes on order have been delivered, the paper said.
The Emirates fleet should more than double from its current 149 planes to 300 by 2020, according to the daily, including 32 Airbus A380 superjumbos ordered in June in a contract worth 11.5 billion dollars.
Dubai International Airport has established itself as the Middle East's busiest airport, handling 42 million passengers in 2009. A second Dubai airport was opened last month, but will be confined to cargo traffic until March.
Etihad, which made its maiden flight in November 2003, now has a fleet of 53 aircraft serving 63 destinations. It has a large list of orders, including 28 to be delivered between 2011 and 2014.
In addition to Emirates and Etihad, the oil-rich Gulf state has flydubai, a sister company of Emirates, and the Sharjah-based Air Arabia. Both are low-cost operators.
The Middle East's travel market has bucked a global downturn trend throughout the global financial crisis, maintaining healthy growth figures.