Etihad gives staff specialist training ahead of Special Olympics

The online module includes general guidelines on speaking to people with disabilities with compassion, respect and tolerance

FILE PHOTO: An Etihad plane stands parked at a gate at JFK International Airport in New York, U.S., March 21, 2017.  REUTERS/Lucas Jackson/File Photo
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Etihad has issued a guide to staff supporting the Special Olympics to enhance their awareness and understanding of people with disabilities ahead of the event.

The online training module, which was developed by the airline to prepare staff for the Special Olympics World Games Abu Dhabi 2019, is believed to be the first of its kind in the industry.

The module includes general guidelines on engaging with people with disabilities with compassion, respect and tolerance.

A particular focus has been placed on supporting guests with intellectual disabilities, in addition to those with reduced mobility, restricted hearing and impaired vision.

Staff have also received specialist training for months to ensure they are prepared to assist athletes, their families and supporters throughout their journeys to and from Abu Dhabi.

Etihad is the official airline partner for the games, in which athletes from more than 190 nations will compete.

“This e-learning course is another significant step on our journey to support the Special Olympics,” said Linda Celestino, vice president of guest service and delivery

“Whether our staff are volunteering at the games, checking in guests at the airport, serving them at 38,000 feet, or cheering in the stadium, the whole Etihad family is looking forward to helping make this unique global event a success”.

Twenty Emiratis from Etihad have been seconded to an organising committee to serve in a variety of roles, while an additional 800 staff members have signed up to volunteer during the games.

The event, which is being held in the Middle East for the first time, will run from March 14 to 21.