Emirates to ground planes due to pilot shortage

Emirates aircraft parked up.
Up to 46 aircraft could be grounded. Photo credit: Getty

One of the world's largest airlines is reportedly planning to ground up to 46 aircraft due to a worsening pilot shortage.

Emirates president Tim Clark told media in April the company was "a tad short on pilots". But grounding 46 planes would suggest the problem is much worse than that.

It's understood Emirates will send 36 Boeing 777's and 10 Airbus A380's to an airport in Dubai to essentially use it as an airplane parking lot, which would cost them around $65 million in lost revenue.

UK-based aviation analyst Alex Macheras says a large number of pilots were leaving the airline due to long hours and poor working conditions.

The groundings come at the same time as other airlines such as Air New Zealand, British Airways and Virgin are scrambling to find replacement aircraft to cover scheduling issues due to the ongoing situation with some of their Dreamliner engines.

British Airways has plans to lease aircraft from Qatar Airways to deal with their Dreamliner fleet problems, but at this stage there is no indication Air NZ will lease any of the grounded Emirates fleet.