AirAsia Group CEO Tony Fernandes Named CAPA Airline Chief Executive of the Year
This award is given to the executive who has had the greatest individual influence on the aviation industry, demonstrating outstanding strategic thinking and innovative direction for the growth of their business and the industry.
Mr Fernandes accepted the Airline Chief Executive of the Year award from Mr Harbison.
The judging panel selected Mr Fernandes for his decision to re-engage and adopt a more hands-on management style after a few years of focusing more on interests outside the AirAsia Group. Financial results have improved significantly in 2016 following an extremely challenging 2015.
“AirAsia is back at the front of the pack in the challenging Asian market and Tony has once again shown why he is one of the industry’s leading executives,” Mr Harbison said. “After formulating and implementing the now-widespread cross-border joint venture concept, the AirAsia group led the way in expanding its network through connectivity between its AirAsia (short haul) and (long haul) AirAsia X brands. The original short haul operations in Malaysia and Thailand are again among the most profitable airlines in Asia while losses in Indonesia and Philippines have been reduced following restructurings and are expected to be profitable again in 2H2016. Long haul LCC AirAsia X is also back in the black following a restructuring.”
CAPA noted the AirAsia Group’s outlook also has been boosted with new capital raised from the issuance of new shares to Tony. With Tony back in the driver seat, new opportunities are now being pursued in North Asia including expansion in China and the upcoming relaunch of an affiliate in Japan. AirAsia also has launched a new aircraft leasing business which is expected to be spun off, raising more capital and reducing group leverage.