The Board of Airline Representatives of South Africa (BARSA has elected a nine (9) member strong Board of Directors to drive the association’s ambitious industry growth, sustainability and development agenda over the next year

Johannesburg- The Board of Airline Representatives of South Africa (BARSA) held its elective Annual General Meeting on 29 May 2018 at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Rosebank, Johannesburg. For BARSA, an association that represents the African and International Airlines that operate into and out of South Africa, this AGM embodies the commitment and unity of voice of the airline industry towards building a sustainable, safe and vibrant aviation industry in South Africa.

The BARSA AGM presented a unique opportunity for its membership to not only review the many challenges that characterized the airline industry over the past year. But members set their eyes squarely on how to innovatively improve performance and take advantage of the promising growth prospects of the country’s economy and the positive sentiment of recent weeks, following President Cyril Ramaphosa’s maiden state of the nation address in February this year. It is during the SONA that the President singled out tourism as an important area of investment focus for government, a sentiment echoed by Tourism Minister Hanekom during his Budget Vote Speech on 17th May 2018.

The BARSA AGM particularly resolved to collaborate with government and other aviation industry role players to raise the profile of aviation and create unassailable opportunities for the development of a safe, viable and sustainable aviation industry that contributes to economic growth, in order to create and sustain jobs. The AGM further emphasized the association’s duty to leverage the success of its own recently held Aviation and Tourism Summit in March this year, and aggressively mobilize other industry stakeholders towards the removal of barriers and constraints that undermine growth.

A nine (9) member strong Board of Directors was elected at the AGM, a team of dynamic men and women who will lead the association and decisively guide the delivery of its programmes over the next year. Carla da Silva, Air Mauritius Regional Manager: Southern Africa and Latin America, who has 21 years’ experience in the aviation industry, was re-elected to the position of Chairman. Deputizing her is Michaela Messner, Regional Manager responsible for Africa at Qantas Airways, who also has been in the travel industry since 1992. South African Airways holds a permanent seat of Joint Vice Chairman of BARSA, a courtesy provision made for the national carrier, given its strategic role in the country’s aviation industry. Darren Hay, who is the Specialist: International Affairs at South African Airways remains SAA’s representative as the Joint Vice Chairman of BARSA. Sean Bradley, the General Manager for Sales at Fastjet, whose carrier spans a few airlines, including KLM Royal Dutch Airlines as well as SAA, was elected an alternate Vice Chairman. Other members of the Board include; Dr. André Schulz, the General Manager for Southern Africa for Lufthansa Group, including Austrian Airlines, Lufthansa and SWISS.

Ashraf A Hakim Al Sayad is the Regional General Manager Southern Africa for EGYPTAIR. He had previously served as a member of the Industry Affairs Committee (IAC) of International Air Transport Association(IATA). In 2010 he was chairman of the Commercial Committee of African Airlines Association (AFRAA). Ashish Kapur is Cathay Pacific’s Country Manager for South Africa and has 23 years of experience in passenger and cargo operations within the aviation industry and had began his career at Cathay Pacfic as Airport Services Manager at Delhi in 2001. Liezl Gericke is the Head of Middle East and Africa for Virgin Atlantic, overseeing South Africa, Nigeria and the UAE. Isaack Wambua is the Country Manager for South Africa, for Qatar Airways and had previously served as Country Manager – Sudan at Qatar Airways, Country Manager – Nigeria at Qatar Airways and Country Manager – Cameroon at Kenya Airways. He brings with him vast and diverse Continental experience to the Board.

In welcoming the newly elected Board, June Crawford, the Chief Executive Officer of BARSA, expressed her confidence in the new Board, saying “the re-election, in their majority, of most of the Board members who served in the previous Board, is an unequivocal statement of confidence in their ability, skill and integrity. It guarantees BARSA continuity and institutional strength, which is so vital if we are to advance industry cohesion and register qualitative progress”.

From the new Board, it is all hands-on deck, working to grow aviation and collaborate with other value chain partners in the interest of all stakeholders. “BARSA will work tirelessly to ensure that the value and the contribution of aviation in our economy is well understood and our efforts in building a sustainable aviation industry is therefore well supported across sectors. The new Board will make it possible for us to achieve this”, Crawford added.

The Board of Airline Representatives of South Africa (BARSA) represents the interests of its African and International members to government, airport operators and other stakeholders in the airline industry with the aim of facilitating and further developing a safe, efficient and viable aviation industry in South Africa. BARSA provides a single concerted voice on policy and other matters in relation to government and other stakeholders in transport, business and tourism. As members of Business Unity South Africa (BUSA), BARSA remains a critical role player; offering a voice to African and International airlines operating to and from the Republic of South Africa.

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