• SAA Leadership Team

    SAA's dynamic leadership team is led by Professor John Lamola, SAA Executive Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, with the support and guidance of the airline's esteemed Non Executive Directors. The leadership team  is set to fulfill SAA's strategic goals, ensuring that the airline grows into a sustainable, world class airline.

    Professor Malesela John Lamola

    Executive Chairperson and Chief Executive Officer

    John Lamola retains the position of Associate Professor of Philosophy of Technology at the University of Johannesburg.  He obtained his PhD from Edinburgh University and an MBA from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University (Daytona Beach, USA). Prior to his return to full-time academic life he built and managed a proprietary private equity investment portfolio that included holdings in aviation and internet technologies. He was CEO at Denel Aviation in 1996 -2001, and has served on the Board (2012-2017) of Airports Company South Africa (ACSA) .

    Mr Fikile Mhlontlo

    Chief Financial Officer

    Fikile Mhlontlo is a Chartered Accountant, a former assurance partner in one of the big four accounting firms and has occupied financial director roles for over ten years. Describing himself he says he is engaging, kind-hearted with a balanced approach that is cohesive and collaborative as well as supportive. He is also a strong proponent of ethical leadership.

    Mr Simon Newton-Smith

    Chief Commercial Officer

    Simon Newton-Smith is a 30-year aviation professional with over 20 years experience successfully leading commercial teams for Virgin Atlantic Airways, Qatar Airways and SAA in the UK, USA, Australia, Africa and the Middle East. He re-joined SAA on 01 August 2021 returning to South Africa from the US where he was leading the start-up of a boutique premium only airline.

    Ms Mpho Letlape

    General Manager

    Human Resources

    Mpho Letlape was previously Group HR Executive at Eskom. Her passion is to put the shoulder to the wheel and get South African Airways in the skies again. Her vision for SAA is to work with the SAA team in a transparent, emphatic, compassionate, and honourable manner to ensure that SAA has a proud and highly performing team serving its customers.

    Capt. Sakhile Reiling

    General Manager Operations

    Captain Sakhile Reiling. holds an MBA from University of West London and was the first female commercial pilot in Botswana. She has a demonstrated history of working in the aviation industry with strong business development experience and skilled in operations management, freight, airworthiness, and pricing strategies.


    Non-Executive Directors

    Mr Nick Fadugba


    Director (British)

    Nick Fadugba is CEO of African Aviation Services Limited and fellow at Royal Aeronautical Society in the UK.  He holds a Master of Science (Distinction) in Air Transport Planning & Management, a Post Graduate Diploma in Air Transport Management and a Bachelor of Science (Hons) in Mass Communication. He is guest lecturer, speaker and mentor.

    Ms Bembe  Zwane

    Non-Executive Director

    Bembe Zwane holds a B.Com in Education from the University of Johannesburg and a B. Com (Hons) from UNISA as well as a Management Executive Programme from the Gordon Institute of Business Science. Ms Zwane is an aviation entrepreneur who is a part-owner in an aviation training solutions provider, a car rental business, and an aviation logistics business. She is a former executive at Imperial Logistics and Equity Aviation.