Reach for the Stars - One Man's Journey, with TONY FERNANDES, Chief Executive Officer, AirAsia
"The Entrepreneurs" Series
Tony Fernandes has spectacularly defied conventional wisdom. He remortgaged his home and invested all his savings to acquire an ailing heavily-indebted carrier with just two planes and started AirAsia, a no-frills budget airline right after the September 11, 2001 terror attacks. Since then, he has defied all skeptics and transformed the carrier into the largest low-cost airline in Asia. which transported 18.3 million passengers last year, serving over 110 destinations with a fleet of 72 aircraft. When few long-haul budget airlines have survived, he established AirAsia X, a long-haul joint venture with Richard Branson in 2007.
This year, when most airlines are making cutbacks, AirAsia plans to double its marketing budget, expand its routes, and take delivery of 38 new aircraft in 2010. How was AirAsia conceived and why did he choose the tough, cut throat world of aviation? What lessons has he learnt on his entrepreneurial journey and what are the challenges ahead? What is his vision for AirAsia and what were factors critical to his success?
Born in Kuala Lumpur, Mr. Fernandes graduated from the London School of Economics. An accountant by training, he was financial controller for Virgin Records in London and at 27, became the youngest managing director of Warner Music (Malaysia). He is the recipient of several awards, including the International Herald Tribune "Visionaries & Leadership Series" Award, and has been honored by the Malaysian government with the title Dato.