Our team

  • Carla da SilvaChairman of the Board

    Carla da Silva is the current BARSA chairman and has spent most of her adult life in the aviation industry. If her 21 years of experience are not proof enough of her passion and devotion to this field, then her steady climb from SAA flight attendant to Air France SA sales assistant to becoming the key account manager and eventual promotion to Head of Global Sales & Distribution SAA should tell a more thorough story.

    Today, Da Silva is the Air Mauritius regional manager for Southern Africa and Latin America. Within her current portfolio, she is responsible for airport operations, sales and marketing, reservations and ticketing operations, finance and human resource management as well as the profit and loss of this R385 million operation. This gives her the dedicated acumen required to chair BARSA.

    Da Silva also serves as a non-executive director on the board of Lwazi Investments and is a Director of Air Mauritius SA Pty Ltd. Her passion lies in Management Innovation and researching leadership in the aviation world; with a particular interest in mentoring women in the aviation sector. Her true passion however, lies in serving as a board member at the Reach For a Dream Foundation. Her role is to ensure that revenue is generated in order to fulfil these dreams and impact society and communities positively.

  • Michaela MessnerDeputy Chairman

    Michaela Messner is the Joint Deputy Chairman of BARSA and has been involved in the travel industry since 1992 where her aviation career began as a reservation consultant for Austrian Airlines in Johannesburg.

    Messner’s steady climb up the ladder of success had resulted in her being appointed sales manager before the company discontinued its operation to South Africa in 2001. Michaela then joined Qantas where she spent 2 years as the Sales & Marketing Manager before leaving the airline industry for a short period.

    Her passion for the aviation field saw her rejoin Qantas in December of 2007 where she is now employed as Regional Manager for the airline as well as acting Joint Vice Chairman of BARSA.

  • Darren HaySecond Deputy Chairman (National Carrier)

    Darren Hay is the Joint Deputy Chairman of BARSA. In essence, Darren is the Manager of International Affairs at South African Airways. Darren began his career at SAA in 1991 in the International Pool Agreements department.

    During the course of his tenure with SAA, he has been involved with commercial agreements, overflying and landing clearances as well as SAA’s traffic rights and operating licenses.

  • Zuks RamasiaChief Executive Officer

    Zuks Ramasia was appointed CEO of BARSA from May 2020. Her previous position was Acting CEO of SAA. Her illustrious career in Aviation runs almost three decades with substantial exposure in the industry. She has a Postgraduate Diploma in Management – Henley Business School, BA (Hons) English and Psychology, Human Resource Development – RAU, Diploma in Airline Operations – IATA, Leadership Development Programme – GIBS

    Zuks also serves as a Director on the Board of Aviation Co-ordination Services “ACS”. ACS’s mandate is bestowed by the association’s member airlines on whose behalf it provides common operational support services to international and domestic airlines operating from, into and within South Africa.

    She served as the Chairperson of the Airlines Association of Southern Africa (AASA) and on the IATA Operations Committee (OPC). This committee serves as an advisory body to IATA’s Board of Governors and Director General.

    Zuks is also a member of the Institute of Directors South Africa.

  • Abel Alemu

    Abel has joined Ethiopian Airlines in 2007 as management trainee and worked both in passenger and freight business streams. His carrier started as Marketing Officer in the Customer Loyalty Department where he managed and promoted the Frequent Flyer Program of the airline along other experienced team members. He later moved to the cargo department of the airline where he assumed a number of sales positions before leading the country Sales Team as  Cargo Sales Manager – for Ethiopia.  He was assigned as Cargo Manager for the Gulf Region based in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Since September 2015 , he assumed a new role as Regional Manager for Southern Africa looking after the overall operation of Ethiopian Airlines in South Africa, Lesotho, Swaziland , Reunion ,Namibia ,  Madagascar and Mauritius. Abel holds Economics (B.A )and Marketing Management  (M.A )degrees.

Karlene Barkley
  • Karlene Barkley

    Karlene Barkley is a seasoned travel industry professional with over 30 years of proficiency in the Travel and Aviation Businesses. She began her career in Zimbabwe in 1988 with Budget Tours. In 1990, she moved to South Africa where she continued working within the travel agency sphere, at the time as the owner and Director of Harvey World Travel for 17 years.

    In 2008 Karlene joined Cathay Pacific Airways as Sales & Marketing Manager Southern Africa and the Indian Ocean. Later in her tenure at Cathay Pacific she was appointed Port Manager Maldives where she managed & oversaw the Company’s commercial business interests.

    Karlene’s continuous growth to success has brought her to been appointed as the Etihad Airways Country Manager South Africa since September of 2018, where she is responsible for all facets of the business on a commercial level.

  • Gareth Cremen

    Gareth Cremen is an attorney and focuses on compliance law, aviation, debt recovery, business restructuring, business rescue and insolvency.

    He has acted for multinational corporations, local and international banks, all of the major credit insurers, business rescue practitioners, liquidators, creditors and listed companies. Gareth has advised these various entities on expedited debt recovery mechanisms, debt recovery, business rescue, liquidations and commercial disputes.

    In addition, Gareth has vast experience in banking litigation, re-structuring (formal and informal), cross-border litigation, forensic investigations and fraud, disputes between parties, regulation and compliance laws. Furthermore, he has been involved in several matters before regulatory bodies and tribunals, among them, the Consumer Protection Tribunal, Competition Tribunal, Advertising Standards Authority, Civil Aviation Authority and the like.

    In 2012 he was appointed to the board of the Turnaround Management Association of Southern Africa and heads up the Disciplinary Committee.

  • Liezl Gericke

    Liezl Gericke is the Head of Middle East and Africa for Virgin Atlantic, overseeing South Africa, Nigeria and the UAE. After joining the company in 2012, she took up the position of Country Head of South Africa in early 2015, was promoted to Head of MEA in 2017, and has been instrumental in the Johannesburg-London route becoming one of the best performing routes on the Virgin Atlantic network.

    Liezl boasts a career in the travel industry spanning nearly 20 years, having started as a Travel Consultant at Flight Centre and progressing to Marketing Manager. Before joining Virgin Atlantic, Liezl was the Managing Director of STA Travel and had been with the company for eight years.

    Liezl is well-regarded for prizing a real connection with customers and staff. Virgin’s mission statement, ‘Embrace the human spirit and let it fly,’ resonates with Liezl and she brings this attitude into her daily work within BARSA.

  • Wouter Vermeulen

    Wouter entered KLM in 2008 as a Management Trainee on a talent development program gaining his first significant experience in a variety of airline sectors.

    He was officially appointed to AF-KL Revenue Management, Inventory & Revenue Analysis for the KL  Medium Haul network and was promoted to Director two years thereafter.

    Wouter accepted his first posting outside the Netherlands in 2015 and moved to Brazil to head up the South America Commercial division with responsibility for Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Paraguay, Uruguay markets.  Wouter earned another promotion to General Manager Southern Africa and ,  He holds a Bachelors and Masters Degree in Economics and Law.  He revels in outdoor activities.

  • Isaack Katilu Wambua

    Isaac Wambua is the Country Manager for Qatar Airways in South Africa.

    With over 15 years of airline industry experience, he has worked in all corners of the African continent namely, East Africa (Kenya and Rwanda), Central Africa (Cameroon), West Africa (Nigeria), North Africa (Sudan) and Southern Africa (South Africa) making him a true African Aviation expert.

    Airlines he has managed across the different countries in Africa over the years include Kenya Airways, Air France/KLM and currently Qatar Airways.