- Thousands of athletes, coaches and supporters to fly with Etihad from around the globe
- Airline set to deliver world-class hospitality and ground programme for Summer Games
- Partnership promotes core values of tolerance, diversity and youth engagement
Etihad Airways has been unveiled as the official airline partner of the 2019 Special Olympic World Summer Games, an event that will bring more than 7,000 athletes from 170 nations to Abu Dhabi in March of that year.
Special Olympic athletes from the UAE and Etihad Airways Emirati cadet pilots attended a special signing event today, Thursday 25 May, at the headquarters of ADNOC (Abu Dhabi National Oil Company), another 2019 Special Olympics World Summer Games sponsor.
The announcement was marked by the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding by His Excellency Mohamad Mubarak Al Mazrouei, Chairman of the Etihad Aviation Group board, and His Excellency Mohamad Abdulla Al Junaibi, Chairman of the Higher Committee of the Special Olympics World Summer Games.
Peter Baumgartner, Chief Executive Officer, Etihad Airways, said: “The 2019 Special Olympic World Summer Games is a remarkable opportunity to showcase our Abu Dhabi home to these phenomenal athletes as they compete on the highest stage. Everyone at Etihad Airways is immensely proud to be supporting the Special Olympics World Summer Games which will be hosted in the Middle East region for the first time.
“The partnership with the Special Olympics is a key element of Etihad Aviation Group’s extensive social activity programme which, in turn, feeds into the Abu Dhabi Economic Vision 2030. We look forward to working closely with all of our partners to make the 2019 Special Olympics World Summer Games a truly memorable occasion.”
The national airline of the United Arab Emirates will carry athletes, equipment, coaches, dignitaries and world media to its Abu Dhabi home for the event in March 2019. The airline will be supported by Hala Abu Dhabi, Etihad’s destination management company, and Etihad Cargo.
A wide programme of support and engagement will be developed in the lead up to the event to ensure everyone coming to the 2019 Special Olympics World Summer Games has the best experience while in the UAE’s capital city.
Peter Wheeler, Chief Executive Officer, Special Olympics Abu Dhabi 2019, said: “We are incredibly excited and grateful to be working alongside Etihad Airways for this prestigious sporting event.
“Etihad’s support will help ensure we put on a world class event in 2019 and allow us to reach further with our message of inclusivity, tolerance and philanthropy. These three key pillars will empower not only our athletes, but people of all abilities across the UAE.”
Abu Dhabi will be the first city in the Middle East to host the global event that will bring together more than 7,000 athletes from 170 nations, making the Special Olympics World Summer Games the largest sporting and humanitarian event of 2019.
The athletes will be accompanied by 2,500 coaches and delegates, to compete in Abu Dhabi between 14 and 21 March 2019.
Football, swimming, athletics, cycling, golf and powerlifting are amongst the 22 sports that feature over the competition and other events which include a Global Policy Summit and Global Youth Summit.
Mohammed Ansari, Etihad Airways’ cadet pilot, said: “It is a privilege for me and the other cadet pilots to represent Etihad Airways at today’s Special Olympics signing in Abu Dhabi. The Special Olympics World Summer Games will be hugely inspirational to us all and I look forward to flying the athletes and their coaches to Abu Dhabi in March 2019.”
About the 2019 Special Olympics World Summer Games:
The Special Olympics World Summer games is a global event that occurs once every two years catering to athletes with intellectual disabilities, and is the highlight event of the global Special Olympics movement.
More than 20,000 overseas visitors are expected to fly into the UAE to watch the action, while Special Olympics’ estimates of 500,000 spectators would make the event the largest ever attended in the UAE capital.
Abu Dhabi’s countdown began in November last year after the Special Olympics International Board of Directors voted unanimously to grant the 2019 World Summer Games to the UAE capital.
This followed a comprehensive bid proposal involving Etihad Airways, and a site visit by a board committee. The board was particularly impressed by the UAE’s vision to create inclusion for people with intellectual disabilities throughout the UAE and the wider world.
Etihad Airways’ sponsorship announcement comes after 2017 was officially declared as the Year of Giving by the UAE’s President, His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan. Etihad Aviation Group’s strategy is based on the government’s three Year of Giving pillars: Corporate Social Responsibility, Volunteering and Serving the Nation.
About the Special Olympics:
Special Olympics is a global movement that unleashes the human spirit through the transformative power and joy of sports, every day around the world. We empower people with intellectual disabilities to become accepted and valued members of their communities, which leads to a more respectful and inclusive society for all.
Using sports as the catalyst and programming around health and education, Special Olympics is fighting inactivity, injustice and intolerance. Founded in 1968 by Eunice Kennedy Shriver, the Special Olympics movement has grown to more than 5.3 million athletes and Unified partners in 169 countries.
With the support of more than 1 million coaches and volunteers, Special Olympics delivers 32 Olympic-type sports and over 108,000 games and competitions throughout the year. Special Olympics is supported by individuals, foundations and partners, including the Christmas Records Trust, the Law Enforcement Torch Run® for Special Olympics, The Coca-Cola Company, The Walt Disney Company and ESPN, Microsoft, Lions Clubs International, Toys”R”Us, Mattel, P&G, Bank of America, Essilor Vision Foundation, the B. Thomas Golisano Foundation, Finish Line and Safilo Group.
About Etihad Aviation Group:
Etihad Aviation Group (EAG) is a diversified global aviation and travel group comprising five business divisions – Etihad Airways, the national airline of the United Arab Emirates, Etihad Airways Engineering, Etihad Airport Services, Hala Group and Airline Equity Partners. The group has minority investments in seven airlines: airberlin, Air Serbia, Air Seychelles, Alitalia, Jet Airways, Virgin Australia, and Swiss-based Darwin Airline, trading as Etihad Regional.
From its Abu Dhabi base, Etihad Airways flies to, or has announced plans to serve, more than 110 passenger and cargo destinations in the Middle East, Africa, Europe, Asia, Australia and the Americas. The airline has a fleet of over 120 Airbus and Boeing aircraft, with 204 aircraft on firm order, including 71 Boeing 787s, 25 Boeing 777Xs, 62 Airbus A350s and 10 Airbus A380s.