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Tony bought his airline business from the Malaysian government at its lowest ebb. Leasing was available, qualified staff were keen to work and within a year the company paid off its debts. He’s now focused on expansion throughout the South East Asia region. In speeches Tony shares insights into growing an Asian business, seizing opportunity in a flat economy, and creating an environment that allows innovation to flourish. He also reveals his role in Apprentice Asia.
Tony Fernandes is CEO of AirAsia, He bought the ailing airline from the Malaysian government days after 9/11, for the equivalent of 20p. It came with over £10m worth of debt.
Creating opportunity from serious catastrophe, Fernandes capitalised on the crisis when aircraft leasing costs were down and layoffs meant that qualified staff were readily available. Within a year, they had cleared their debts and broken even.
Previously at Virgin Atlantic and Financial Controller for Virgin Records, Fernandes entered the world of Formula 1 at the same time as Richard Branson. (They agreed that the losing team boss would work on the winner’s airline for a day.) He has also expended his interests into football and ‘no-frills’ hotels.
Once named Forbes Asia businessman of the year, Tony speaks about the fast-growing market in India and South East Asia. He demonstrates how staff are always the first priority, and that creativity and innovation are critical. As the Chariman and majority shareholder of Queens Park Rangers FC, Tony also has an insight into a very different business world.
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