Team Lotus Team Principal, AirAsia Group CEO and Malaysian entrepreneur, Tony Fernandes has been awarded a Commander of the Order of the British Empire by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.
The citation says the award was conferred “for services to promote commercial and educational links” between the United Kingdom and Malaysia.
Fernandes, together with three partners, took over the loss-making AirAsia from a Malaysian government-linked company in December, 2001. In just over nine years under his leadership, AirAsia has soared to become one of Asia’s largest low coat airlines.
In 2007, he founded sister airline AirAsia X, the low-cost, long-haul carrier. AirAsia X launched flights between Kuala Lumpur (LCCT, Sepang) and London (Stansted) in 2008. AirAsia X now flies to numerous destinations around the world.
In Formula One, Fernandes and his partners Kamarudin Meranun and SM Nasarudin have gained an army of fans around the world since launching their team in record time for the start of the 2010 F1 season.
Now racing under the Team Lotus banner, they achieved their first year objective of winning the battle of the sport’s new teams and are now taking the fight to the established midfield teams and continuing their march up the grid.
Not content with changing the aviation industry, Fernandes has also set about innovating the landscape in more terrestrial ventures. He is the founder of the Tune Group of companies, which hosts under its umbrella Tune Hotels (budget hotels, including one located in central London), Tune Talk (pre-paid mobile telephony) and Tune Money (insurance and finance).
Fernandes was also the major mover and key partner in the effort to locate a campus of Britain’s Epsom College in Malaysia. It is a venture close to his heart, as he was once a student at the boarding school in London.
Fernandes expressed delight at the news of the CBE, saying, “I’m grateful to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II for the honour. It is a recognition of the hard work, determination and effort on the part of all my partners, colleagues and staff in AirAsia, Tune Group and Team Lotus. We have a terrific bunch of talented people working with us to make things happen in whatever venture we undertake. This is as much their award as it is mine.”
The CBE is the second major award conferred on Fernandes in Europe. In 2010, the French government conferred upon him the title of Officier of the Legion d’honneur, the highest award for a non-French national, for his outstanding contributions to the aviation industry.
The man whose personal credo is “Dream the Impossible, Believe the Unbelievable and Never Take No for an Answer” believes deeply in providing opportunities throughout his businesses for talent to flourish, for meritocracy to reign and for helping people realise their dreams. “I realised mine, and I am determined to help others realise theirs, too,” said Fernandes.
AirAsia defers 10 A320
deliveries from 2012 to 2015
AirAsia Berhad last week signed an amendment agreement with Airbus for the revision of the delivery dates of 10 Airbus A320 aircraft originally scheduled for delivery in 2012 to the year 2015.
Under a Purchase Agreement of 11 March 2005 and a number of amendment agreements entered into between Airbus and AirAsia, AirAsia has agreed to a firm order of 175 Airbus A320 aircraft with a schedule of delivery runs from December 2005 to October 2014.
With the above deferment, the delivery of 24 aircraft in 2012 will be reduced to 14 aircraft. The number of deliveries in 2015 will also be increased from nine aircraft to 19 aircraft. No penalties are payable by AirAsia in revising the delivery schedule of the 2012 Aircraft.
AirAsia said a key commercial reason for the deferral of the 2012 aircraft is to afford the company some flexibility to switch from its current order of the classic A320 to a new generation A320 aircraft which is more fuel efficient when such aircraft come into production in the near future.
The deferral will also have a positive impact from the balance sheet perspective, as it will help to maintain the company’s net gearing position to below 2.
Despite the deferral, AirAsia will nevertheless be taking delivery of 14 aircraft in 2012. This will enable the company to support the growth of its joint ventures in the Philippines as well as Vietnam while continuing to support existing affiliate airlines.
On the back of AirAsia’s very encouraging financial results in the last quarter, the focus of the company is to consolidate its growth while creating growth in other regions. The deferment is expected to create a greater optimisation of aircraft utilisation in tandem with the growth in passenger capacity.