Etihad Airways is offering pilots seconded from its partner airlines the opportunity to transfer to permanent contracts. The pilot secondment program is part of Etihad´s strategy for international expansion, the carrier said in a statement.

The secondment program began in April 2013 when the first seven airberlin Boeing 737-rated first officers arrived in Abu Dhabi to begin type-conversion training on Etihad´s Boeing 777s.

To date, almost 200 partner airline pilots have become seconded to Etihad, including 52 pilots from airberlin, 41 from Alitalia, 63 from India’s Jet Airways, 25 from City Liner (Alitalia subsidiary), four from Darwin Airline and six from Austria-based airberlin subsidiary Niki. Twenty-one former airberlin pilots have transferred to permanent roles with Etihad, flying Airbus A380s and Twenty-one former airberlin pilots have transferred to permanent roles with Etihad, flying Airbus A380s and Boeing 787s.

Etihad has a strategy of taking equity stakes in its partner airlines and has formed its own alliance among most of them, Etihad Airways Partners, with loyalty perks similar to those of the major global alliances/

With Etihad’s fleet expansion, pilots who can benefit from an accelerated career path through secondment. The average time-to-command at Etihad is about three years compared with 10 to 15 years at most legacy carriers.

“Time after time, we prove that our partnership strategy is truly a winning business model. Together with our partners, we are sharing resources, incorporating our fleet programs, aligning our staff expertise, and developing rewarding careers,” Etihad president and CEO James Hogan said in a statement.

As part of the pilot secondment program, Etihad sends its own pilots on placements with partner airlines to expose them to new experiences and broaden their career opportunities. Currently the airline has four of its pilots on secondment to Air Serbia, two to Air Seychelles, one to Jet Airways, one to Etihad Regional and one to Alitalia.