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Travelport GDS Strengthens Presence in the Middle East

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Strengthening Travelport GDS’s presence in the Middle East, Bryan Conway, one of Travelport GDS’s most senior executives, recently relocated to the company’s regional Dubai hub to take up the new role of president and managing director, Middle East & Africa (MEA) reporting into Armin Meier, Travelport GDSs Chief Commercial Officer.

Working closely with Rabih Saab, Travelport GDS’s vice president for the Middle East, the focus of Bryan’s new role will be twofold: to strengthen further Travelport GDS’s leading market position amongst travel agents in the Middle East and Africa and to work closely with airlines across the whole region, as well as Europe, to ensure that users of both the Galileo and Worldspan systems have access to the best possible airline content.

Rabih Saab continues in his role as vice president for the Middle East with overall responsibility for the day to day regional operations and reporting into him is a newly appointed team of senior managers including three new country managers to oversee the direct operations in the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Egypt.

Faris Azzee, formerly sales director for Amadeus in Dubai and Northern Emirates, has joined the team to head up the new direct operation in the UAE and will be based in the recently-expanded Dubai Silicon Oasis office; Fazal Muhammed, formerly Travelport GDS’s Business Development Director, Airlines Services (MEA), has been appointed country director Saudi Arabia where he will have responsibility for managing the three new offices in Jeddah, Riyadh and Damman.

Also newly appointed is Jennifer D’Souza as Commercial Director looking after all of Travelport GDS’s distribution partners across the region. Jennifer has been with Travelport GDS for over eight years and has extensive experience of working in the Middle East. She now returns to the regional hub in Dubai to manage all distribution partners.

Numerous other appointments continue to be made across the region adding over 100 new employees to the existing team. Particular focus has been placed on recruiting new teams to manage agency training programmes across the region.

New distributor relationships, all signed with leading local organisations and due to start on January 1, 2009, include agreements with the Al Safar Group in Bahrain, Mannai Trading Corporation in Qatar, Universal Travel in Yemen and Travel Point LLC in Oman.

“After almost twenty years in the Middle East we believe that Travelport GDS has developed a thorough understanding of our customers’ evolving requirements. We feel that the interests of travel agents across the region will be better served going forward by the new distributor relationships we have signed and the new direct operations we are setting up in certain markets,” said Rabih Saab, vice president for Travelport GDS’ Middle East and Africa region. “Within this new structure we will be heavily focussed on the training and development of our own staff to ensure we have the most skilled GDS team in the region. We will also continue to  offer leading-edge technology and solutions coupled with enhanced training and local support for our agency customers. I am confident that this winning combination will help our customers grow their businesses over the coming years.”

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