Tan Sri Anthony Franicis Fernandes or knows as Tony Fernandes is a Malaysian entrepreneur in airline business. He is the founder of Tune Air Sdn. Bhd. who introduced the first budget no-frills airline, AirAsia, to Malaysian with the motto of “Now everyone can fly”. With his innovation, he is successful to turn a failing government-linked, DRB-Hicom commercial airline into a highly successful budget airline public listed company. (Air Asia, 2005)
Tony was born in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia in 1964 to an Indian Goan father and Malacca Portuguese mother. His father was a communist doctor while his mother is a business women. When he was young he used to follow his mother a business women in selling Tupperware around Malaysia. He was educated at Epsom College from 1997-1983 and graduated from London School of Economics in 1987. (Sen Z. & Ng, J., 2008) Although Tony grew up in a middle-class Malaysian family, Tony’s early thinking was shaped by the British education system. He was about 12 when his parents sent him to boarding school in England, where he lived and worked well into early adulthood. Boarding school had brought a huge culture shock for him, but he has always been adjustable, so he managed to survive it. Moreover Tony is very good at sports, therefore it makes things easier for him to solve since everyone there was a foreigner and he managed to break the ice between them. He also said that he can be put anywhere in the world, and he will be able to get on with people around. (Sen Z. & Ng, J., 2008)
Tony studied accounting but he became an auditor in Virgin Atlantic after graduating from the London School of Economics (LSE) in 1987. However the job was seems to boring for his adventurous spirit and he gave it up after six months working there. Then he started to looked for something more exciting, and set his sights on the music industry since he love music. He is an amateur guitarist and enjoys playing the keyboard and the drums. (Sen Z. & Ng, J., 2008)
After resignation of auditing job, he sent his resume to record companies. And finally he got employed as the financial controller for Richard Brandson’s Virgin Records in London from 1987 to 1989. After that, he moved to Warner Music International London and become the senior financial analyst till 1992. Tony transferred to Malaysia as General Manager of Warner Malaysia. Within six months, he was appointed managing director, becoming the youngest candidate in the company’s history to hold the post. In August 1996, he became Regional Managing Director ASEAN holding the post until December 1999, when he rose to the post of Vice President of Warner Music Southeast Asia. When Time Warner Inc announced its merger with America Online Inc, Tony left to pursue his dream of starting a budget no-frills airline. (Sen Z. & Ng, J., 2008)
2.1 Story of AirAsia
What caused Tony Fernandes to give up his burgeoning career in the music industry to take on a field so different as aviation? Well, there was of course his love for flying and for aircraft. Therefore he plans to run airline business based on his personal preference which is his interested field since he was young (The Economist, 2009). However, his application for a new airline license from the Malaysian government was rejected. Initially, AirAsia was a national carrier established by DRB-Hicom Bhd in 1996. It offers slightly cheaper fares than its main competitor, Malaysia Airlines. Before 2001, AirAsia failed to either sufficiently stimulate the market or attract enough passengers from Malaysia Airlines to establish its own niche market. The situation becomes worse when Tan Sri Yahaya Ahmad, the former owner of DRB-Hicom, died in a helicopter crash in March 1997. After this event, AirAsia was thrown into a management crisis, and things become even worse when Asian financial crisis hit the region at the same time. Therefore, AirAsia lost money speedily...
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