Tony Fernandes, owner of the Malaysian low-cost carrier AirAsia has been named as one of the 100 most influential people in the world for this year by the Time Magazine. This prestigious award puts Fernandes together with such people as Bill Gates, Barack Obama and Steve Jobs.
Fernandes (50 years) has bought AirAsia in 2001 from its previous owner for 1 ringgit ($0.28) and has turned the company profitable in the meantime, after the carrier was indebted almost RM 40 million ($11 million US dollars).
AirAsia is currently the largest low-cost airline company in the continent, flying to more than 90 destinations. The company was founded 13 years ago and has successfully flown over 280 million passengers in its 190 planes.
Shocked but Proud About the Award
After being featured for the Time award, Fernandes explained that he was shocked but still “very proud and humbled” when he got the news he was included in the magazine’s top 100 list. He called this a “tremendous honor” for him.
AirAsia boss also said:
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.
Fernandes also said that he will be refocusing his attention on the core business, beginning with AirAsia.
Furthermore, Fernandes personally thanked the staff in AirAsia, as well as Queens Park Rangers football club in England, leisure and entertainment company Tune Group and Catherham Formula One team, of which he is also an owner, for “standing by me through it all.”
One of the main reasons Time has selected Fernandes for their award was his response after the disappearance of AirAsia’s flight QZ8501 in December 2014. His timely updates regarding this accident were seen by the critics as a positive thing, saying that “AirAsia cares”.
According to Forbes Fernandes is the 33rd richest person in Malaysia.