Special Olympics athletes infront of the branded Boeing 787-9 flanked by Etihad Airways Cabin Crew Image Credit: Supplied

Abu Dhabi: Four UAE Special Olympics World Games athletes saw their images emblazoned across the side of an Etihad Airways Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner on Tuesday.

Etihad are the official airline partner of the Games that will take place in Abu Dhabi from March 14-21.

The unveiling took place at an engineering hangar in the UAE capital in front of swimmer Omar Al Shami, runner Hamda Al Hosani and bowlers Saleh Al Merri and Mariam Al Hosani.

Etihad Airways Boeing 787-9 with Special Olympics branding Image Credit: Supplied

The Special Olympics will be this year’s largest sports and humanitarian event with over 7,500 athletes and 3,000 coaches, representing more than 190 nations, participating in 24 sports across venues throughout Abu Dhabi and Dubai.

Al Shami, 15, who was delighted to see his image on the plane, said: “As an athlete of determination, I’m proud to have worked with Etihad on the livery. The positive impact that meaningful partnerships like this have is invaluable and I hope that more companies across the globe follow suit.”

Amina Taher, Etihad Aviation Group Vice President Corporate Affairs; Akram Alami, Etihad Aviation Group Chief Transformation Officer; Ghannam Al Mazrouei, ADNOC Director of the Human Capital & Administration Directorate; Abdul Khaliq Saeed, Etihad Engineering Chief Executive Officer; Omar Zaafrani, ADNOC Senior Vice President Group Communications & CSR with Special Olympics athletes Mariam Al Hosani, Saleh Almarri, Hamda Alhosani and Omar Al Shami, flanked by Etihad Airways Cabin Crew Image Credit: Supplied

More than 20,000 overseas visitors will join tens of thousands of spectators from across the UAE to watch what will likely be the largest global event ever held in the capital. As part of their partnership, Etihad will fly in athletes, equipment, coaches, dignitaries and media. The airline has also launched its own employee volunteer programme, allowing staff to volunteer at the Games for five days on full pay.