Etihad Airways hires new GM to turn around its South Africa Operations

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Etihad Airways has appointed John Friel as its new General Manager in South Africa.

He will be responsible for leading the Airline’s commercial operations in South Africa as it continues to grow its presence and operations across the region.

John, a 16-year veteran in the travel sector, has a strong understanding of managing the challenges and opportunities within the industry having worked for a number of leading international airlines, where he developed excellent contacts and worked closely with the tourism industry and across the aviation and travel trade, both in South Africa and abroad.

He joined Etihad Airways in June 2014 as Regional Business Development Manager in South Africa.

“We are very excited to have John take up his new position at our South African office where he will continue to drive commercial success for the airline in cooperation with its partners,” said Maurice Phohleli, Etihad Airways’ Vice President Africa Sub-Sahara and Indian Ocean.

“South Africa is a very important market for us and John has a wealth of commercial management experience and the right credentials to accelerate the growth of our business there.”

Etihad Airways currently operates seven flights a week between Abu Dhabi and Johannesburg. This, combined with a new daily service operated by its codeshare partner, South African Airways, scheduled to start on 29 March, will provide passengers with a double-daily service between South Africa and the UAE, with access to key destinations on Etihad Airways’ fast growing global network in the Indian Subcontinent, Asia, Europe and North America.

The airline has announced plans to launch new daily services to Entebbe and Dar es Salaam in May and December this year, bringing to 11 the total number of routes into Africa and the Indian Ocean, alongside Cairo, Casablanca, Johannesburg, Khartoum, Lagos, Mahé, Male, Nairobi and Tripoli.

Born in Scotland, John has been living in South Africa with his family since 2002.

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