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Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates - Etihad Airways, the national airline of the UAE, welcomed a group of Special Olympics UAE athletes to Zayed Campus, the airline’s training academy, to take part in the Young Aviators programme, an initiative which aims to inspire youth and increase their knowledge of the aviation industry. 

Established to support human development, one of the themes for the Year of Zayed, the Young Aviator programme includes a guided tour of the Etihad headquarters and Training Academy, sessions in the full flight simulators and walkthroughs of an Airbus A320 and Boeing 777.

Robin Kamark, Etihad Aviation Group Chief Commercial Officer, said: “Education has the power to change lives and we were honoured to showcase our facilities to the athletes preparing to participate in the upcoming Special Olympics World Games Abu Dhabi 2019.

“Our aim is to get people excited about aviation by putting them in the pilot seat in our simulators and by experiencing abridged aircraft training through our Young Aviator programme, led by a group of our very own volunteers.”

During the tour, Special Olympics athletes visited the training venues at Zayed Campus and were introduced to the pilot training process and the airline’s flight safety procedures during a speaking seminar.

Talal Al Hashemi, National Director of Special Olympics UAE, said: “Initiatives like the Young Aviators programme support the growth of a diverse and inclusive workplace culture across the UAE. When we listen and celebrate what is both common and different, we build a more inclusive society and a harmonious whole. Diversity strengthens innovative capacity, unleashes the potential of employees and directly contributes to business success and we encourage other industry partners to develop and lead other likeminded programmes.”

Etihad Airways aims to attract approximately 1,000 students, including special needs athletes to participate in the programme.

Earlier this year, Etihad Airways announced a series of initiatives to mark the Year of Zayed including dedicated Airbus A380 flights hosting content inspired by the late Sheikh Zayed, a specially branded freighter flew humanitarian relief to Greece and in commemoration of his environmental stewardship, the airline launched the Abu Dhabi Birdathon to drive awareness of flamingo conservation.

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