Lessons Learnt from Tony Fernandes – CEO Air Asia

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I never know who is the CEO of Air Asia, although I have flown with their airlines. Till yesterday, while scrambling through the channels on the local cable TV, I stumble upon the show called: “Face 2 Face with Desi Anwar” Featuring Tony Fernandes. Desi Anwar has been well known for her seniority in media, and been very fluent in her English. So, it caught my attention. Upon watching further, I stucked with it and HAVE to stay focus on the topic being talked about.

It really caught my attention, mostly about how Air Asia has grown from a 250,000 USD capital low-cost flight company, into a multi-million Dollars PROFIT making company. Few statements that I tried to remember clearly are:

  1. The biggest asset in your company is “The People”
    Without these people that can grow together with your company, it won’t be able to go up high. Hiring is important. Education background just states that you are educated person, but not necessary a willing and passionate about a job that is trusted for you. People that are passionate, willing to grow, dare to prove themselves, and REALLY delivering, is what really needed. So, that’s what I’m going to get for my company, and for the existing, to polish them and motivate them to grow together.
  2. Air Asia started with the CEO from Music bacground, and small capital with low cost. Their focus is on Volume rather than Big Value. Giant companies or the existing companies tend to look down on these kind of start-ups, and through that, Air Asia prooves that they have the way. Its one of their benefit, and they fight through it and prooves that you can excel even without High Capital and Connections through the governments. Finding ways through where people thought its not gonna work.
  3. With low capital, how they done their BRANDING? Branding is one of the most important aspects in a company, together with “The People”. So these two are the MUST HAVE kind of aspects. CEOs of Air Asia go everywhere wearing their Caps. They walk from apartment to Office with their Caps on. They attend any event with their Caps on. What Cap is that all about? Cap with Air Asia Brand on it. They value their branding. Air asia owned QPR Football club, but before that, they invest their money during their early business in Branding through Manchester United. Air Asia sponsors Manchester United with 7 AirCrafts. They cost a lot. How they gonna get profit from this high branding investment? From there, its the “After Effect”. Through that, people are starting to be aware of the BRAND: Air Asia. And so they are now here, being Top low cost carriers in Asia.

South East Asia or ASEAN still has lots of opportunities and growing market. Its the best continent for investments and starting a new business.

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All of these are still in my head right now, and some that are written above came through while writing it. It shows that these three points, are “MUST HAVE” things in my Company too. Eventhough we started in small town with small markets and channels, there are always ways out and path to the TOP position in the Country, and One Day in South East Asia.

I wish I could watch the full replay of this Face2Face with Desy Anwar on the Tony Fernandes’s interview now. Just sharing what I have learnt. Hope its usefull for you all too.

To know more about Tan Sri Dr. Tony Fernandes and his daily lives, check out his blog @
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