Events    |    AASA AGA 2014    |    Panel/Speakers bios

Where: Hilton Mauritius Resort and Spa, Mauritius
When: 30 October to
2 November 2014

Inati Ntshanga    |    AASA Chairperson  

Inati Ntshanga is the current Chairperson of AASA. He was appointed as Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of SA Express by the Board of Directors of the airline on 1 September 2010. As CEO of the airline, he also serves as an Executive Director on the SA Express Board of Directors.

Ntshanga is a Harvard University Economics graduate, whose previous portfolio included the development of SA Express’ strategy and business development, including the airline’s route expansion and forays into the rest of the African continent. He joined SA Express in January 2005 as Executive Manager, Commercial and Strategy before becoming General Manager, Strategy and Business Development.

Over the last 10 years, Ntshanga has held various roles in the airline industry, particularly at South African Airlines (SAA) where he worked in various departments, including Voyager, Sales, Airport Operations and Technical. He was also Executive Manager of Strategy and Planning, as well as Regional General Manager/EVP for the Americas at SAA. Prior to joining SAA, he worked as a consultant in various areas in aviation including Cargo, Technical and Customer Service.

Ntshanga holds a GIBS Global Executive Development Programme qualification from the University of Pretoria's Gordon Institute of Business Science; serves on the Board of the Hoedspruit Airport in the Kruger National Park, Limpopo; and is passionately involved in the development of the aviation industry in that region.

Chris Zweigenthal    |   AASA CEO     

Chris Zweigenthal is the current Chief Executive Officer of AASA. From 1978 until 1988, he worked in the construction division of Transnet, and was responsible for the project management and construction of several large capital projects. At the end of 1988, he joined SAA, where he held senior positions in the Petroleum Affairs, Flight Operations and Marketing Planning departments. 

From November 1998 until October 2000, Zweigenthal was appointed Managing Director of SA Alliance Air based in Kampala, Uganda. In November 2000, he was appointed General Manager Global Passenger Services at SAA, and later Vice President of the same department, until he left SAA in November 2001.

In February 2002, Zweigenthal joined AASA as Deputy Chief Executive, and was appointed Chief Executive Officer in March 2009. He is also a Director of Aviation Coordination Services Limited, a company responsible for several airport services managed on behalf of all airlines operating in South Africa.

Zweigenthal holds a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering from the University of Witwatersrand, and a Graduate Diploma in Engineering from the same university.

Erik Venter    |    AASA Executive Committee    |   Chairman  Comair Limited 

Erik Venter is a current Executive Committee member at AASA. He is also the CEO at Comair Limited. He joined  Comair in 1996 as Financial Manager, and has held various positions within the company including Commercial Manager, Commercial Director and Financial Director. In July of 2006 Erik was appointed as Joint CEO of Comair and served in this position until December 2011 when he assumed the sole responsibility for the company as CEO. 

Venter has also served a term as Chairman of AASA, and and is currently a director on the Board of Imperial Air Cargo (BidAir Cargo aquired Imperial Air Cargo in 2014).

Venter holds a Bachelor of Commerce from the University of Cape Town,  and Post Graduate Diploma in Accounting from the same University. He completed his articles with KPMG qualifying as a Chartered Accountant (CA) (SA). 

Poppy Khoza    |    Director of Civil Aviation    |    South African Civil Aviation Authority

Poppy Khoza is currently the Director of Civil Aviation at the South African Civil Aviation Authority. She has over 15 years’ experience in the field of aviation, and now holds the position of the Director of Civil Aviation, having worked in various management portfolios. She has over 10 years’ experience in senior management with her academic progression being largely in strategic leadership business administration, coupled with aviation-specific training. Her experience encompasses both the industry and the regulator.

Khoza serves in various aviation structures nationally and internationally as a member. She was appointed as Vice Chairperson of the ICAO Aviation Security Panel for two consecutive years and also co-chairs the ICAO AVSEC Panel Working Group on Air Cargo Security.

Khoza is the recipient of a Meritorious Award as South Africa’s Most Influential Woman in Business and Government; a 2014 finalist in Africa’s Most Influential Women in Business and Government. She is passionate about meaningful change and aspires to provide good leadership in the aviation sector in the interests of aviation safety of security.

Nawal K. Taneja    |   Author & Professor Emeritus at the Center for Aviation Studies, Ohio State University

With a career that spans 45 years in the global airline industry, Professor Nawal Taneja has worked for and advised major airlines and related businesses worldwide. Within the business sector his experience also includes the presidency of a small airline that provided schedule and charter service with jet aircraft and the presidency of a research organisation that provided consulting services to the air transportation community globally. 

Within the academic community, Taneja has served on the Faculties at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) (as an Associate Professor) and at The Ohio State University (first as a Professor, then as the Chairman of the Department of Aviation, and subsequently as the Chairman of the Department of Aerospace Engineering). 

Within the government sector, Taneja has been recognised as an influential thinker, and has advised worldwide Departments of Civil Aviation, Finance, Economics, and Tourism on matters relating to the role of governments for facilitating the development of the aviation sector to promote travel and tourism and enhance economic growth.

Taneja has also served on the Board of both public and private organisations, presents at industry conferences worldwide, and continues to advise senior executives in airlines and related businesses, as well as senior government policy makers. In December 2010, Airline Business included him in its list as one of the 26 of the industry’s most influential leaders of the past 25 years. As a business author, Taneja has written, at the encouragement of, and for practitioners, eight books on the airline industry.

Taneja holds a Bachelor’s degree in Aeronautical Engineering (First Class Honors) from the University of London, a Master’s degree in Flight Transportation from MIT, a Master’s degree in Business Administration MIT, and a Doctorate in Air Transportation from the University of London.

Monwabisi Kalawe    |    CEO    |    SAA Group

Monwabisi Kalawe is the CEO of SAA, the South African national airline carrier, and an executive member of SAA's Board of Directors. He is also the Chairperson of the African Airlines Association (AFRAA) and was elected as a Board Member of South African Tourism.

Prior to taking up his role as the CEO of SAA, Kalawe was the Country MD of Compass Group. With an esteemed business mind, Kalawe began his career in 1988 as an engineer-in-training at Eskom, a South African electricity public utility. In 1994 he joined the FMCG giant, Nestlé South Africa, as a factory engineer.

Kalawe joined Airports Company South Africa (ACSA) in 1998 as the Executive responsible for Cape Town International Airport for six years before leading the Total Facilities Management Company (now named Bidvest Facilities Management) as COO in 2004, and the Denel Munitions as CEO in 2006.

Kalawe holds a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering from University of Kwazulu-Natal, and his MBA from the University of Cape Town Graduate School of Business

Hussein Dabbas    |    Regional Vice President for Africa & Middle East    |    IATA

Hussein Dabbas is International Air Transport Association (IATA)’s Regional Vice President for Africa and the Middle East based in Amman, Jordan since 2012. His responsibilities include defining IATA’s members’ priorities and needs, Implementing IATA policies and promoting its services, ensure that the clearing of over US$24 billion annually is done in a safe and timely manner. Working with airline Presidents and Directors of Civil Aviation in the region to push for a more secure and safe industry through the implementation of the IATA safety standards. Promoting the value aviation brings to the economies of the countries and the promotion of the liberalisation of the industry. In addition he contributes expertise in corporate strategy, commercial strategy and business planning to the stakeholders.

Before joining IATA in June 2012, Dabbas was the President and Chief Executive Officer of Royal Jordanian Airlines for three years after spending over thirty years with the airline in senior roles, including Vice President Commercial and Services and Regional Director for the USA, based in New York. 

Dabbas holds a Master’s Degree in International Management and Marketing from Thunderbird School of Global Management in Arizona, and a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from the University of San Francisco in California.

Andre Viljoen    |    MD & Chief Executive Officer    |    Fiji Airways

Andre Viljoen, born in South Africa, has 33 years of seasoned airline experience and joined Fiji Airways as Managing Director and Chief Executive officer in October 2015.

Viljoen started his airline career with Comair British Airways in South Africa in the 1980’s as Financial Manager and soon grew to the position of Group Financial and Commercial Director, which he held for more than 10 years. He played an instrumental role in elevating Comair Limited from a small regional airline to becoming SAA's principal domestic competitor flying the British Airways brand.

Viljoen then went on in 1992 to join SA Express airline, the largest regional airline in South Africa, as Chief Operating Officer. He devised and led a turnaround program to restore the airline back to profitability and to expand its fleet to include regional jets.

In 1995, Viljoen joined SAA, South Africa’s National Airline, as Chief Financial Officer and took over as President and Chief Executive Officer in 2000 until 2005. He implemented an aggressive transformation program known as “Perfecting the Basics” which restored the airline back to profitability by 2002. The transformation program also earned the airline a Skytrax 4 Star Rating, as well as many travel awards such as “The Leading Airline to Africa”.

Viljoen then went on to join the tour operator group Cullinan Holdings as Chief Executive Officer from 2006. The Group is well known for its travel brands Thomson Holidays, Thomson Tours and Pentravel.

In 2009, Viljoen joined Air Mauritius, Mauritius’ National Airline, initially as Chief Financial Officer and then from 2010 as Chief Executive Officer. In 2012, he launched a successful turnaround program known as the “7 Step Recovery Plan”. The plan was focused on re-balancing the company’s network, improving revenue management and commercial, as well as re-fleeting with new generation aircraft. The plan restored the airline back to profitability by 2014 and it has ordered 6 Airbus A350-900 new generation aircraft to replace its aged fleet of Airbus A340-300’s. The service quality improvement program implemented as part of the 7 Step Recovery Plan has earned Air Mauritius the Skytrax 4 Star Rating, as well as the travel award of “Leading Airline to the Indian Ocean”.

Viljoen holds a Bachelor of Commerce in Accounting, Economics and Management from Natal University, a BAcc Honours Degree in Accounting, Auditing and Taxation from UNISA and is a member of the South African Institute of Chartered Accountants (SAICA) and the Public Accountants' and Auditor's Board (PAAB) for Auditing and Consulting.