Etihad Airways has signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Hub71, Abu Dhabi’s global tech ecosystem, to support the expansion of entrepreneurs innovating in Abu Dhabi.

The carrier has become the official airline partner of Hub71, which will offer more than 100 global start-ups within its tech community special rates and access to a dedicated booking platform to simplify their travel needs.

Hub71 is a flagship initiative of Ghadan 21, Abu Dhabi’s accelerator programme, which has grown from 35 to 102 start-ups in under two years and generatingAED 185 million ($50.4 million) to support them.

Etihad’s partnership with Hub71 will see the airline tap into this fast-growing global network, engaging with its start-up founders and entrepreneurs to launch innovation-driven activities. The airline will also explore mentorship opportunities, workshops, and community events.

“Technology and innovation play a key role in supporting the restart of the aviation industry during the Covid pandemic. Etihad looks forward to working with Hub71’s global pool of innovators to actively source, support and enable the rapid trial and production of promising solutions for the aviation industry,” said Mohammad Al Bulooki, Chief Operating Officer of Etihad Aviation Group.