Nowadays, AirAsia is the best of the Asian airline companies in its market segment and became profitable almost immediately after Tony Fernandes took it over in spite of the air-travel downturn following the 11 September 2001 terrorist attacks.
These results can be only explained by the fact that Tony Fernandes is a great leader. First of all, his skills and personal qualities are those of a good leader. He was entirely committed to his business (sometimes with a little humor) and was very accessible to the media; he wore AirAsia’s office red rap cap and official T-shirt to almost every official function, he gave his phone mobile phone number to all the media representative he talked to, and was himself advertisement …show more content…
He was honoured with the title of ‘Officier of the Legion d’ Honneur’ by the government of France in April 2010, for outstanding contributions to the French aviation industry. It is the highest rank of honour that the government of France can award to a non-French citizen.
2.2 PERSONAL TRAITS
Already Mr Fernandes was thinking about applying the low-cost approach to long-haul—he even went to see GE Capital, to ask if he could lease a Boeing 747. But on the advice of Conor McCarthy, a hard-nosed former head of operations at Ryanair, he agreed to start with a short-haul business. To that end, he approached Malaysia’s then prime minister, Mahathir Mohamad, in June 2001 to see whether he would get official backing for his plan to challenge Malaysia Airlines’s local monopoly. The canny Mr Mahathir said that he would grant his blessing, but on condition that Mr Fernandes took over an existing airline: AirAsia, a struggling subsidiary of a government-owned conglomerate.
AirAsia had a couple of elderly Boeing 737s, 40m ringgit ($11m) of debt and not