Etihad Airways has recruited 40 fully qualified pilots from Alitalia as part of a large-scale global campaign to hire between 500 to 600 captains and first officers over the next three years to keep pace with the rapid expansion of its fleet and global network.
The new Alitalia recruits are in the process of transferring to Etihad under a three-year contract, with the option to become a permanent employee after this period.
Etihad and Alitalia signed a strategic agreement last August in a complex transaction worth €1.75 billion ($2.35 billion), which saw the Abu Dhabi-based carrier take a 49% stake in Alitalia for €387.5 million.
Thirty-eight pilots are expected to begin work at Etihad Airways before the end of this year, while the remaining two will join the airline during the first two months of 2015.
Captain Francesco De Liddo and First Officer Paolo Sala became the first two recruits from the group to join Etihad this week. Both employees will attend a three-month training program, which is conducted in-house at the Etihad Training Academy in Abu Dhabi, to change their pilot license from Airbus A330/A320 to Boeing 777 aircraft.
Etihad Airways president and CEO James Hogan told ATW recently in Hamburg that 120 Alitalia pilots have been transferred to Etihad “where we need them for our growth.”
On Thursday, Hogan said in a statement: “To help achieve our target, we conducted a road show in Italy earlier this year to present our airline to Alitalia’s pilots and invited those interested in joining us to attend interviews and assessments in Rome or Abu Dhabi.”