Air Seychelles announces the appointment of Manoj Papa as new CEO

AIR SEYCHELLES APPOINTS NEW CEO

(Posted 28th January 2014)

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The announcement by Air Seychelles just now, that they have appointed Mr. Manoj Papa as their new CEO, succeeding Cramer Ball who earlier today made the formal announcement of his departure by the end of February, suggests that this change of guard has been in the making for a while but kept a closely guarded secret, apart from the minutest rumours from the grapevine.

Mr. Papa joins from South African Airways, where he held the position of Acting General Manager – Commercial, overseeing the entire commercial portfolio for the airline. As part of this, he was also instrumental in developing the Long Term Turnaround Strategy for SAA.

Manoj Papa started his career with South African Airways, working across different functions including finance, and varied commercial functions in the airline including sales and distribution, sales strategy, the frequent flier program and e-commerce, as well as a period as SAA’s Regional General Manager for Asia and Australasia. He joined Etihad Airways in 2007 later serving as Vice President Corporate Strategy until he returned to South African Airways in 2012.

Joel Morgan, the Seychelles Minister for Home Affairs and Transport and Chairman of Air Seychelles, welcomed the appointment of Mr Papa to run the national airline.

Said Minister Morgan earlier today: ‘Manoj Papa is an experienced airline professional and strategist with the credentials to lead Air Seychelles in the next phase of its development. With our new routes, new aircraft on order and new service offer now across the network, we are in a stronger position than we have ever been. I put on record our grateful thanks to Cramer Ball, who has been instrumental in revitalising our national carrier. Cramer was seconded to Air Seychelles in January 2012 as part of a partnership in which Etihad Airways acquired 40 per cent of our airline and secured a five year management contract. He took us into profitability in his first year of leadership and has rebuilt the foundations of this proud airline’.

James Hogan, President and Chief Executive Officer of Etihad Airways, which holds a 40 percent share in Air Seychelles, also welcomed Mr Papa’s appointment. ‘During his five years with Etihad Airways, Manoj played an important role in developing and implementing our long-term growth strategy and I am delighted to welcome him back into the wider Etihad Airways family. The insight which Manoj has into our business and strategic model will be crucial in ensuring the continuity of our commitment to the ongoing success and growth at Air Seychelles’.

Cramer Ball was appointed as Chief Executive Officer of Air Seychelles in January 2012 and during his two-year tenure successfully initiated the restructuring of the business with a view to achieving commercial sustainability. The turnaround program saw the introduction of a new network plan, new aircraft, new product and service initiatives, and new staff training and development opportunities. In February 2013, the airline was able to report a net profit of US$ 1 million, a remarkable turnaround after three consecutive years of losses. The year culminated in the airline receiving the prestigious four-star rating from Skytrax.

Cramer Ball will stay on to ensure a seamless transition until Mr Papa officially assumes the position of CEO on 01st of March 2014.

A warm welcome to the paradise islands of the Seychelles to Manoj Papa and all the best for the time ahead.

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