AirAsia Group CEO, Tony Fernandes, has received
the Orient Aviation Person of the Year for 2009 award for
successfully leading AirAsia, which has, in only eight years,
grown to become one of the world’s leading low-cost airlines and
Orient Aviation chief executive Barry Grindrod, in
naming Tony the Orient Aviation Person of the Year, noted that
Tony is the first individual whose airline is not affiliated with
the Association of Asia Pacific Airlines to receive the award. Grindrod highlighted Tony’s role
in changing the face of aviation and benefiting travelers in the
“They [critics] said he wouldn’t get the air
rights, the business model would not work outside Malaysia, and
that the major carriers would gobble up the fledgling carrier.
Today, there are many LCCs in the region, and AirAsia is leading
the way. Because of Tony and his hardworking team, there are tens
of thousands of people flying for the first time. He has, quite
literally, changed the way people live,” Grindrod said.
Tony has grown AirAsia
into a world-class brand through innovative marketing that offers
revolutionary low fares that come with premium products and
services. Working with the AirAsia slogan of Now everyone can fly,
Tony has led the team in growing the airline, which has now flown
more than 75 million guests and is linking cities across Asia
Pacific. The airline grew its fleet of two aircraft, one
destination and staff of 250 to a fleet of approximately 82
aircraft, 113 routes to almost 60 destinations across Asia
Pacific, and a staff of 6,500.
AirAsia today has a route
network that spans across the ASEAN region (Malaysia, Indonesia,
Thailand, Cambodia, Myanmar, Laos, Vietnam, Singapore, Brunei and
the Philippines), Australia, China, India, Bangladesh and Sri
Lanka. Through low-cost long-haul affiliate AirAsia X, which Tony
founded, AirAsia passengers are also able to connect to more
destinations in Australia and northern China and to Taiwan, UK
and the UAE.
Aside from AirAsia, Tony also leads the Tune Group,
which currently includes Tune Hotels, a no-frills hotel chain that
offers “5-star beds at 1-star prices”; Tune Sports, which runs the
ASEAN Basketball League; Tune Money; and Tune Talk, a mobile phone
service provider. Tune Group also has an investment in the
1Malaysia F1 Team.
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