Tony Fernandes is a Malaysian entrepreneur and the founder of AirAsia, a successful no-frills budget airline. In addition to this, he is also the majority shareholder of English soccer club Queens Park Rangers and the team principam of F1 Team Lotus from 2010 onwards. Tony Fernandes' biggest achievement has been to secure open-skies agreements with several of Malaysia's neighbours in order to boost AirAsia.
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Air Asia and QPR
Tony Fernandes, the man behind QPR and Air Asia. If you're not aware of QPR, it stands for Queens Park Rangers, the football club that is currently in the First Division of the Barclays Premier League. When my lecturers want to tell success stories in my class, it is either about Tony Fernandes or Jimmy Choo.
Thanks to him, riding an airplane for a holiday trip or even business have never been so affordable before. He's practically the Richard Branson of Malaysia. I'm actually quite interested to get an interview with this guy but I'm going to leave that for the future.
Entrepreneur at heart
Tony Fernandes is far from just a multi-millionaire businessman. Behind all the wealth and the ingenuity, still lies a human with a caring heart. During my business degree course,I had to write a term paper and I decided to write about him and the AirAsia Airlines. There was too little info so I decided to shoot Mr. Fernandes himself a list of questions. Of course, I wasn't expecting a reply but to my amazement, I did get a reply and it was directly from Tony!
He had graciously replied to my email and answered all of my questions. I was extremely surprised and happy about this. I also fly using AirAsia all the time and I have been greeted with smiles and treated with as much respect that a customer deserves so I am completely happy.
Man with great vision
With the tagline “Now everyone can fly” he has conquer the budget airline business with AirAsia. Turning AirAsia from a failing commercial airline into a highly profitable successful budget airline is one of the famous moves of this Malaysia entrepreneur. His capabilities of a great entrepreneur showed long before he brought AirAsia. He worked in Richard Branson’s Virgin Records as financial controller where he gained experience to manage a business. Besides, AirAsia, Tony has is the team principal of Caterham F1 team and the majority shareholder of Queens Park Rangers. With his courage and vision, I believe this is the beginning of Tony Fernandes era but not the end of his era.
Charismatic and visionary.
I think, and I know there are many people who will agree with me on this one, that Tony Fernandes is Asia'a answer to Britain's Richard Branson.
Definitely less zany than Branson, Tony Fernandes is an entrepreneur unlike any in the region, let alone the continent! Credited with the turnaround of a failing government-linked AirAsia into a highly successful budget airline, and even taking it public, is not his only achievement. With the soccer club QPR also under his stewardship and the F1 Lotus Team in addition to that, Tony has proven himself to be a many of many talents.
It is this versatility that defines him, I feel.