Corporate Social Responsibilities
Tony Fernandes, CEO of Kuala Lumpur-based Air Asia started a low-cost airline at a time when everyone thought he would fail. He placed high emphasis on his workforce and flexible HR strategies. During the past few years, Air Asia has become one of the best low-cost airlines in Asia and it has also boosted its CSR efforts. Fernandes' basic sense of CSR starts with his people: Air Asia was one of the first airlines in Asia to hire female pilots. He says that his staff are his best asset and that he constantly uses their suggestions to improve and innovate within the company.
For a low-cost airline, turnaround time is a crucial element. The more time AirAsia planes are in the air, the more revenue can be garnered. Innovative procedures and systems contributed towards the company having one of the fastest turnaround times (25 minutes) in the world . The credit for those successes lays squarely with their staff base according to Fernandes, "Our people are the ones who deserve credit for helping us get to where we are today; and for pushing us to even higher levels in the weeks and months ahead." As a result of low turnaround times, fuel wasted by idling aircrafts is also reduced. Fernandes has created a culture of teamwork, equality and constant communication that facilitates the exchange of ideas and a positive working atmosphere.
Air Asia's other CSR initiatives extend towards its work in extending help during natural calamities. They joined hand with UNICEF to raise $128 million for children and families affected by the earthquake in Haiti. They also provided transportation of aid to cyclone-ravaged Myanmar. Aid workers are always offered free transport to and from disaster areas. According to Fernandes, "AirAsia shares in the responsibility of promoting wellbeing in the world. When we help those affected by calamities, we share the burden of their loss and grief and help them heal faster from these."
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