AIRASIA Group CEO Tony Fernandes was named by Time Magazine one of the world’s 100 most influential people in the 2015 Time 100 list.
The Time 100 list, now in its twelfth year, recognizes the activism, innovation and achievement of the world’s most influential individuals.
Fernandes said in a statement, “It’s a tremendous honor to be included in TIME’S top 100 list—I was shocked when I first received the news but I am very proud and humbled.”
“This has been a challenging year but my entire career has been about challenges and with every obstacle, we learn and become even better. I believe we are making forward strides and I am excited about the future. This year will be about refocusing my attention on the core businesses starting with AirAsia,” he added.
With a vision to democratize air travel, Fernandes co-founded AirAsia in 2001 with partner Kamarudin Bin Meranun, purchasing a then loss-making AirAsia from its Malaysian owner for a token one Ringgit ($0.30) along with over $11 million in debt.
Never losing focus on delivering a high-value product at affordable prices and against all odds, Fernandes unleashed an unprecedented boom in air travel in Asia and the Asean region, connecting communities and cultures while providing a tremendous boost to the region’s economies. Innovative product offerings and creative marketing turned the once-staid industry on its head.
Today, AirAsia is the largest low-cost carrier in Asia, servicing the most extensive network with over 90 destinations. Within 13 years of operations, AirAsia has carried over 280 million guests and grown its fleet from just two aircraft to over 190 with established short-haul operations in Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, the Philippines and India, and long-haul operations in Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand.
AirAsia has been named the World’s Best Low Cost Airline in the annual World Airline Survey by Skytrax for six consecutive years from 2009 – 2014.
“We are committed to strengthening our core proposition of providing the highest value product and further expanding our network across Asean and beyond. We have always been about serving the underserved, whether it be through our services and product or giving chances to our staff where we have pilots who used to be purchasing assistants, department heads who started as baggage handlers and flight attendants who used to be administrative assistants,” Fernandez also said.
“My hope is that the work we do through AirAsia and Tune Group enables and inspires the next generation of Asean entrepreneurs and SME owners and propels them to success,” he added.