Etihad Airways, Microsoft ink deal to to launch first AI Academy

Abu Dhabi-based airline says academy will revolutionise the way it serves its customers using artificial intelligence

United Arab Emirates, February 2, 2019

Etihad Airways has announced a strategic partnership with Microsoft to launch the first in-house AI Academy in the region.

The Abu Dhabi-based airline said the academy will revolutionise the way it serves its customers by upskilling its workforce, optimising operations and creating alternate revenue streams.

As part of the AI Academy, all Etihad employees will be given access to an online training programme, and instructor led classes, to drive companywide AI literacy, it added.

Microsoft specialists will also conduct a series of AI business workshops and hands-on technical lab sessions to help identify business challenges that can be optimised with artificial intelligence.

Etihad is currently embarking on a digital transformation journey in order to enhance the capacity and quality of its services to the almost 20 million passengers it carries each year.

“There is a simple reason that we are long-term partners with Microsoft – we think alike,” said, Tony Douglas, CEO, Etihad Aviation Group.

“Our people make us who we are. By upskilling them to use technology powered by AI, we are future-proofing our organisation. We believe that human interaction augmented by technology delivers an enhanced experience for our guests which will give us a competitive edge.”

“In a world where every company is becoming a digital company, it’s great to see Etihad and its leadership set an example by investing in their people, and in embracing what we refer to at Microsoft as tech intensity,” said Ihsan Anabtawi, chief operating and marketing officer, Microsoft Gulf.

“AI is one of the technologies that will transform every industry, and we’re proud to be partners with Etihad in readying and upskilling their world-class team and organization, which is foundational to achieving their transformation vision and digital outcomes.”

According to a recent Microsoft survey, more than 72 percent of the region’s companies are planning to spend on AI in 2019, and previous adopters are planning further investments.

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