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Alitalia develops top italian students into future airline leaders with Etihad Airways

Alitalia has launched a comprehensive new graduate management program in collaboration with Etihad Airways, providing a unique opportunity for graduates from Italy’s leading universities to develop into future leaders of the airline. 

A total of 400 candidates applied for the program this year, out of which 24 were selected for enrolment. The first group commenced the program at Etihad Airways’ Abu Dhabi hub today with a ‘discovery’ phase that identifies their core strengths and career aspirations. A range of bespoke classroom-based training and work placements will be offered for two or more years, depending on their interests and career goals. Focus areas can include revenue management, engineering, airport operations, customer service, finance, network planning, pricing and ticketing, sales and marketing, and human resources.

The graduates will complete the program with the creation of a business-based project focused on improving operations in their chosen field at Alitalia. Upon graduation, they will return to Alitalia as specialists in their chosen field and with unrivalled international experience working in a dynamic environment with colleagues from over 140 nationalities.

Prior to travelling to Abu Dhabi, the students attended a recent welcome at Alitalia’s headquarters in Rome, hosted by Chief Executive Officer Silvano Cassano and other senior executives from the airline.

Mr Cassano said: “Our vision for Alitalia is clear. We want to provide Italian travellers with improved global connections, drive increased inbound tourism into the country, and support Italy’s economic growth. Through our revitalised product and service offering, Italy will once again have a premium national carrier that is recognised around the world.

“The launch of our graduate management program is an important step towards achieving our ambitious vision and pursuing a radical cultural change. The program structure is a proven one, as it has been successfully operated by our shareholder Etihad Airways and a number of its partner airlines for years. We are therefore confident our graduate managers will return to Alitalia with in-depth knowledge of industry best practice gained from a high performing and multicultural global business.”

Ray Gammell, Chief People and Performance at Etihad Airways said: “We are delighted to partner with Alitalia on the launch of this graduate management program, which is another great example of the benefits that are being derived from the Etihad Airways and Alitalia partnership. At Etihad Airways, we have built an award winning learning academy with over 1,400 students in our development programs at any one time, offering talented individuals the opportunity to become specialists in aviation management. After completing the programs, the world really is their oyster. Our first graduates have already progressed into senior management positions and I am delighted to see their careers continue to flourish.”

Francesco Schena, one of the new graduates to join the program, said: “Applying for the Alitalia graduate management program was a little nerve-racking for me, because this type of opportunity is very unique and exciting, and I knew there would be a lot of competition amongst the candidates. Being selected to join the program in its first year is a dream come true and I look forward to developing my skills and experience at a world-class airline such as Etihad Airways, before returning to serve my national carrier in Italy.” 

Last year, Etihad Airways invested €560 million investment to acquire a 49 per cent shareholding in New Alitalia and a 75 per cent interest in Alitalia Loyalty, which operates the MilleMiglia frequent flier program.