Abu Dhabi: Etihad Airways and Italy’s Alitalia unveiled on Monday two aircrafts bearing the Expo Milano 2015 logo to mark their co-sponsorship of the event.
The aircrafts, which bear the colours of the Expo 2015 and its logo, were painted with ecological paint, and will commence their first flight on Monday. The Airbus A330-200 aircrafts will then welcome passengers on board throughout the next six to 12 months.
Both aircrafts are operated by Etihad Airways.
“The aircraft in Milan will fly to Abu Dhabi this night, and this will be its first flight. Then it will fly through North America and South America mainly,” said Giancarlo Schisano, deputy general manager of Alitalia.
The airlines held joint simultaneous events in Milan and Abu Dhabi where each aircraft was displayed.
The aircraft that was displayed in Abu Dhabi will also commence its first flight at the same time to Rome.
“The co-sponsorship of Expo 2015 is evidence of the growing partnership between Alitalia and Etihad Airways, and will play a key role in bringing the targeted eight million visitors from around the world to Milan,” said James Hogan, president and chief executive officer of Etihad, who was giving his speech in Milan.
During the press conference, representatives from Etihad and Alitalia confirmed that pilots will be hired in the next few months as part of Etihad’s deal that was earlier announced to acquire a 49 per cent stake in Alitalia.
“More or less 100 pilots applied to come to work in Etihad. Forty nine pilots had their checks, and 42 of them have been positively checked and they will arrive in the next few months. Some more engineers are also applying to come to work in Abu Dhabi in Etihad…so we expect some 50 to 60 people - mostly engineers to arrive in the next couple of months,” Schisano said.
Discussing the deal, Etihad’s Hogan said that the transaction is still being reviewed by the European Union.
Expo 2015 will be held in Milan from May to October 2015 with an estimated 20 million visitors expected to attend – a third of which will travel to the city by air.