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Tony Fernandes - Forbes Asias Businessman of the Year

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AirAsia Group CEO, Tony Fernandes, has been named Forbes Asias Businessman of the Year. Fernandes is the first Malaysian and Southeast Asian to receive the award.

Forbes Asias editor, Tim Ferguson, said, The competition was tough, including from leaders of Forbes Asias Fabulous 50 companies. Although several mainland Chinese entrepreneurs fully came into their own this year, in general they are still excelling in a single national market that is subject to domestic booms and busts. Fernandes is expanding his business outward.

Fernandes has transformed Asias travel landscape since taking over the then loss-making AirAsia in 2001. He redefined air travel by sticking true to AirAsias slogan of Now everyone can fly. AirAsia has, in less than nine years, flown more than 100 million guests.

Since taking over the helm, he turned the airline into one of Asias biggest low-cost carriers and expanded its base from Malaysia to across the ASEAN region, home to 600 million people.  AirAsia now has 140 routes to 23 countries, a fleet of close to 100 and a staff that is 8,000-strong.

Aside from connecting communities in the region, AirAsia also connects the region to more destinations in Asia, Australia, New Zealand and Europe through long-haul affiliate AirAsia X.

Fernandes other business interests, which operate under the umbrella of Tune Group, include Tune Hotels, Tune Money, Tune Talk, Tune Sports, Tune Tones, Tune Studios and Kuala Lumpur Education City (KLEC). KLEC is bringing into Malaysia Epsom College, which is one of the UKs premier boarding schools. He is the team principal of Lotus Racing F1 team. Fernandes also founded the ASEAN Basketball League, which is the first professional basketball league in the ASEAN region.

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