Introducing our South African Airways UK team. We think it’s important you can put a face to the name so please meet our UK team below!
Gary joined as GM UK and Ireland in 2010 and has worked in the airline industry for over 25 years. He started his career with Air Europe and Virgin Atlantic where he held various roles in the Operation. He then moved into the Commercial side of the business with Canadian Airlines, oneworld, US Airways and latterly Air New Zealand where he was Head of UK Sales.
He loves South Africa for the diversity of its culture, the scenery and its warm welcome. “I’ve travelled across a lot of the country, but I don’t think anything prepares you for your first sighting of one of the big 5 on Safari. And bizarrely enough, I love the thunderstorms - watching them traverse across a plain from a distance is just stunning.”
Gary is also a keen squash player, loves going to music gigs and has an obsession for all things Apple!
Richard joined SAA as Regional Finance Manager – Europe back in 1999 and is renowned in the office for his brilliantly dry sense of humour.
A fan of the great outdoors, Richard loves Africa for the warmth of the welcome you receive and its vast array of outdoor activities whether it is on a safari or by the sea. He has been lucky to have visited most of South Africa, particularly the Western Cape, as well as Botswana, Zambia, Zimbabwe and Mauritius.
Richard is also a big fan of anything cultural or football related and claims to enjoy wrestling tigers in his free time – yes we’re not sure if he’s joking either!
Jon joined SAA in spring 2012 and heads the Marketing and Comms team.
Mostly experienced in aviation, he's also led a number of other brands outside of travel. He's now back in the airline business and enjoying every moment. Jon's into most stuff; travelling, camping, runs a boys football team, loves his canoe, his claim to fame is walking onto the Skyfall set and bagging a part in the film!!
Matt heads up our Commercial team in London.
He travelled through Africa after he left school and worked in Cape Town before settling back in the UK where he spent nearly ten years in both sales and product with STA Travel. He moved into aviation with Air New Zealand in 2008 before joining up with the team at SAA in October 2012. His experience and love of Africa made SAA a natural choice for Matt and we’re delighted to have him on board.
Lucy started her career with SAA back in 2002. She left us to gain some wider experience of the trade, with hotels, representation companies and also with other airlines, but now she’s back.
Lucy has been an Account Manager for SAA for over three years but has recently been promoted to Leisure Sales Manager, heading up the Leisure Sales team. Her passion for Southern Africa has led her on some amazing trips to South Africa, Botswana, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Zanzibar, Mauritius, Mozambique and she hopes to visit Malawi and Madagascar in the not too distant future.
'You can't really describe Africa without talking about the safari, the beaches, beautiful sunsets and sunrises, the stunning scenery, food and wine but most importantly the people; Africa has the friendliest people with the biggest smiles'
We're all thrilled to have Lucy back on the team.
Our Account Manager, Angela, forms one third of our leisure sales team and is responsible for a varied portfolio including the African Specialists, Online Agents and Allocation Agents.
You would never believe it, but outside of work Angela is kept busy being a hands-on grandma to her gorgeous little grandson. She is also a keen traveller and confesses to have fallen in love with the African life, “there is so much culture in Africa, so much to see and many places to visit, I just don’t get bored of it.”
Having visited much of South Africa including the stunning beaches at Plettenburg Bay, Safari near Port Elizabeth, as well as Botswana, Zambia and Zimbabwe, Angela has far too many amazing stories to include here – but we’re sure she’ll be happy to share them with you if you want to find out more!
Kate has recently joined the SAA team and has over 17 years’ experience in the travel industry. Kate started her career at Thomas Cook where she held various roles across the organisation, before leaving to join Virgin Atlantic as a Sales Manager.
For the last 6 years Kate has enjoyed working in the hotel world looking after New York and Caribbean properties on a global level.
Meet Phil Ariss who heads up the corporate sales team.
Phil is responsible for developing and implementing the strategy for revenue growth from direct (corporate) customers and travel management companies.
A keen traveller, Phil has already visited Cape Town, the Garden Route and Johannesburg and still gets an absolute thrill when the “wheels come down” to land on the magical plains of Africa, “I find it diverse and an absolute assault on the senses which fills me with excitement every time”
With 25 years of varied experience in travel, Paul has recently returned to the airline industry to join our Sales Department. Responsible for managing a portfolio of preferred TMCs and corporate clients, he also sources and introduces new business, corporate and SME clients for SAA.
Paul’s interests include travelling with his wife, following the misfortunes of Newcastle United, and listening to punk music and obscure 80's indie bands.
Partial to a glass of red and a self-confessed softie when it comes to animals, he can’t wait to take his first safari adventure to see the ‘Big 5’ up close before sampling more of the many amazing South African wines available.
Sylvia has worked for SAA for 10 years in various commercial roles and now leads the Sales Support in the UK office.
Sylvia is a bit of a resident expert on Southern Africa and counts her trip to the Pilanesberg National Park in the North West Province as her most memorable so far. Sylvia’s team look after fares, fare rules, ticketing, ADM’s and refunds and are committed to supporting the travel trade. Her passion for Southern Africa took her to Zambia last year to visit the spectacular Victoria Falls on the Zambezi River and she also joined a trade educational to Zimbabwe, so we’re all very envious in the office.
He’s the guy supporting you with fare calculations, refunds, name corrections, ticket changes, re-issues, schedule changes and all kinds of general enquiries. He’s got a great pedigree having worked for a number of airlines and we’re delighted he’s chosen to land at SAA.
He recently travelled down to the Western Cape and loved the coastal scenery between Cape Town and Hermanus. He had an amazing experience and can't wait to go back!
We love Vicky for her smiles, her advice and her knowledge of South Africa.
In her career she’s done the lot; check-in, ticket desks, town office, reservations, ticketing, groups, interline, educationals, all with a giant smile.
Vicky joined SAA in December 2001 and now works in Sales Support supporting the trade with fares, ticketing and events. She’s a great source of advice too, she loves Johannesburg, Durban, Cape Town and the Garden route, and has a love for wildlife that keeps her coming back for more.
Elizabeth has been working for SAA for 17 years, starting out at the ticket desk assisting customers face to face in our Bond Street office. She then moved to the contact centre where she gained a considerably amount of knowledge and experience, before her most recent move to join the Sales Support and Groups department.
With a passion for travelling, meeting people and learning about different cultures, Elizabeth's favourite destination is Cape Town where she enjoys seeing the wildlife, eating the amazing food and looking up at the stars.
Patricia has worked in the Sales Support and Groups department since July 2014. She first started as a temp in 2011 for a few months and was excited to return as a permanent member of staff and re-join the team.
Patricia visited South Africa, following the Garden Route, a few years ago and is eager to return and explore other parts of the beautiful country such as Cape Town - plans are already in place for 2017!
Alessia recently joined the SAA Marketing team, having previously worked for fellow Star Alliance member, United.
A self-proclaimed travel addict, Alessia has travelled to every continent apart from Antarctica, and is really looking forward to having the opportunity to learn more about Southern Africa.
In her spare time, Alessia likes to read, do yoga and practice photography.