Tony Fernandes

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1.0 INTRODUCTION
Nowadays, AirAsia is the best of the Asian airline companies in its market segment and became profitable almost immediately after Tony Fernandes took it over in spite of the air-travel downturn following the 11 September 2001 terrorist attacks. These results can be only explained by the fact that Tony Fernandes is a great leader. First of all, his skills and personal qualities are those of a good leader. He was entirely committed to his business (sometimes with a little humor) and was very accessible to the media; he wore AirAsia’s office red rap cap and official T-shirt to almost every official function, he gave his phone mobile phone number to all the media representative he talked to, and was himself advertisement for his company. Tony Fernandes has also had a good vision of the future because he was very realistic and he exploited the market’s opportunities well. Although the context was not very favorable to enter the market, and especially in this field because of the 11th September, Fernandas chose to take the risk because he strongly believed in his project, which is a characteristic of a good leader. Another point that can prove this is that he was the first on the market segment of low-costs, no-frills and entered the market at the most profitable moment: nobody on the market segment in Asia and attractiveness for customers. So Tony Fernandes was courageous in this unfavorable context and he took his decisions in a very independent way. These strengths are crucial to be a leader. He did not take risks only by taking over AirAsia, but also in its drastic changes. Since the creation, he continually brought a lot of innovative concepts, such as online booking and check-in, travel insurance, holiday products, booking services for hostels, car rental, credit card or medical care. He also deeply changed the business model of the airline company is choosing a low-cost and no-frills strategy and moved down the value chain. Thanks to him, AirAsia was also a pioneer in the defense of environment, by fighting against carbon emissions and paper waste. Tony Fernandes was also a good leader because he succeeded in convincing people to rally on his project, since the beginning. The acquisition of AirAsia by Fernandes was welcomed by the Malaysia government. AirAsia became the official airline sponsor of the world-famous Manchester United football club and the AT&T Williams Formula One team.ernandes. AirAsia was also implicated at the request of authorities but also on its own in tourism, rescue to cyclone-hit Myanmar in2008 and Sichuan earthquake recovery in China. The number of rewards received by AirAsia is endless and this is a way to recognize the good job done by Tony Fernandes. He was also a great leader because his management and leadership styles led quickly to huge profits, whereas the situation was not very favorable. The productivity of the staff was superior to the quality in other airline companies in the market segment of low-cost (0.33cost/ASK compared to 1.18 for the others): it shows that people were encouraged, motivated and committed to the company policy. Fernandes’ choices in investments such as new fuel-efficient Airbus A320 and new aircraft decreased the costs of fuel and maintenance. The cost of marketing was also lower because he was a recognized leader on the market and needed less money for marketing and sales because of the effectiveness of the distribution channel, which is another indicator of his good leadership towards employees. Purchasing aircraft also cost less than other companies because he knew how to convince suppliers and gain attractiveness. People in the company were wholly loyal to Fernandes, which also proves he was appreciated and respected as a leader. As a result, Tony Fernandes was not only a leader, but also a great leader thanks to several aspects: his skills and personal qualities, his good and right vision, his independence, his innovative capability,...
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