Etihad Airways has welcomed its first Emirati cabin crew member. Farah Saeed, who is 27 years old and from Dubai, recently graduated from the initial eight week training course at the Etihad training complex in Khalifa City.

Etihad has more than 3,000 cabin crew members of more than 100 nationalities, but Farah is the first UAE national to become a cabin crew member.

James Hogan Etihad Airways’ Chief Executive Officer, said: “We are proud to welcome Farah to the Etihad family and wish her great success with her career. Cabin crew are the face of Etihad in the skies – interacting directly with our customers – so it is vital that we have our own nation represented among this very international group.

“Etihad currently has 166 Emirati pilots and cadet pilots in its ranks, as well as increasing numbers of UAE nationals building their careers across all divisions in the airline, so Farah will certainly feel at home working with Etihad.”

Since graduating, Farah has been quick to take to the skies in her role as an Etihad cabin crew member, flying to Istanbul and London Heathrow.

Farah said: “The support and guidance I have received since joining Etihad has been immense. Throughout training, and now as a qualified cabin crew member, I have been warmly welcomed by everyone in the company and I hope more Emiratis will now look to join Etihad in-flight services.”

Farah’s graduation follows the recent news that that Etihad will open a contact centre, exclusively managed and operated by UAE national women, in Al Ain.

The contact centre, which is set to open in January 2011, will be staffed by 80 Emirati women who will be contact centre agents, contact centre team leaders under the leadership of a contact centre manager.

The contact centre is the latest element to be introduced into Etihad’s innovative Emiratisation scheme that currently includes a cadet pilot, engineering, and graduate manager program.