Alitalia and Etihad Airways celebrated the opening of their joint pavilion at Expo Milano 2015 with a ribbon-cutting ceremony, hosted by Silvano Cassano, Chief Executive Officer of Alitalia, and James Hogan, President and Chief Executive Officer of Etihad Airways and Vice Chairman of Alitalia.
HE Saqr Nasser Al Raisi, UAE Ambassador to Italy; HE Sheikh Sultan Bin Tahnoon Al Nahyan, Chairman of Abu Dhabi Department of Transport and Chairman of Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority; James Hogan, Etihad Airways President and Chief Executive Officer, and Alitalia Vice Chairman; Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, UAE Minister of State and Chairman of Masdar; Silvano Cassano, Alitalia Chief Executive Officer; with cabin crew from each airline and Emirati employees from Etihad Airways.
The airlines are Official Global Carriers of Expo Milano 2015, which takes place under the theme of ‘Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life’ from now until 31 October. A total of 20 million visitors are expected to attend from across the world over the six-month period, with Alitalia and Etihad Airways’ pavilion serving as a highlight of the Expo experience.
Silvano Cassano, Chief Executive Officer of Alitalia, said: “As Official Global Carriers of Expo Milano 2015, Alitalia and Etihad Airways have been focused on increasing awareness of the event and encouraging large-scale participation from across the world. Public interest in the Expo has been constantly growing and as a result, we have experienced significant demand on domestic flights within Italy, as well as key markets in North and South America, Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Asia. The opening of our pavilion today marks another important step in our support of Expo Milano 2015 and we are delighted to showcase the many exciting features that we will offer to attendees.”
James Hogan, President and Chief Executive Officer of Etihad Airways and Vice Chairman of Alitalia, said: “The combined networks of Etihad Airways and Alitalia offer unmatched travel connections into Italy, making us the smartest option to bring the world to Expo Milano 2015, so that the mission of this important event is successfully achieved. In addition, as Official Global Carriers, we are able to actively promote the event worldwide and provide visitors with a pavilion experience that is memorable, entertaining and educational, in line with the Expo theme.”
Alitalia and Etihad Airways’ two-storey pavilion has a prime location next to Palazzo Italia and measures 1,150 square metres. The ground floor is open to all visitors and includes a Social Hub, which provides a multimedia experience around the theme of ‘Connecting the World Journey’, using cutting-edge technology and large interactive screens.
Another highlight of the ground floor is the Imagination Lounge, where several daily cooking demonstrations will be conducted by celebrity chefs, including Italy’s Gabriele Rubini, famously known as Chef Rubio, and the UAE’s Chef Khulood Atiq. Both are successful chefs, best-selling authors and television stars, with a loyal following in their home countries and abroad. Chef Khulood is also an Emirati culinary consultant for Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority (TCA Abu Dhabi).
In addition, two fully operational flight simulators will allow visitors with a passion for commercial aviation, aircraft and travel to test their pilot skills, while children will be entertained in the Kids Area, which is packed with interactive games, an augmented reality experience, and a 360° Collective Map with Oculus Rift technology, allowing youngsters to discover the world as they have never seen it before.
The first floor includes an exclusive lounge, where top Alitalia and Etihad Airways clients and selected guests can relax in a luxurious and comfortable environment, and experience the airlines’ award-winning products first hand. Professional chefs will prepare breakfast, lunch and dinner buffets in the dining area, and a meeting room will also be available for private business meetings.
As Official Global Carriers of Expo Milano 2015, Alitalia and Etihad Airways will also play a key role in bringing visitors to the event, with an estimated eight million attendees travelling to the event by air. The airlines offer the best network to accommodate these visitors and, together with their partners, connect with over 850 destinations worldwide, surpassing those offered by any other competitor.
Since October 2014, Alitalia and Etihad Airways have each been operating an Airbus A330-200 aircraft with a unique Expo Milano 2015 livery, carrying the event’s ‘Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life’ message to leading business and leisure markets worldwide.