One of ASEAN’s most recognisable entrepreneurs, Tan Sri Dr. Tony Fernandes is best known for founding AirAsia, the first low cost airline in Malaysia. Fernandes famously bought the ailing airline for a token RM 1 (approximately 26 US cents) and helmed its expansion from a Malaysia-based domestic carrier to an airline group domiciled in 6 countries, serving over 100 destinations across 24 countries. Under his stewardship, AirAsia has become Asia’s largest low-cost airline group.
Fernandes studied at Epsom College, UK and the London School of Economics and qualified as an Associate Member of the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants in 1991 and a Fellow Member in 1996. An accountant by training, Fernandes began his career in Richard Branson’s Virgin Group before returning to Malaysia as Warner Music Group’s Vice-President for Southeast Asia.
Fernandes has received numerous awards and accolades over the course of his illustrious career including the Honor of the Commander of the Order of the British Empire, conferred by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II in 2011. The French government conferred upon him the Officier of the Legion d'Honneur award, and later the Commander of the Legion d’Honneur for outstanding contributions towards the economy of France through the aviation industry.
In 2015, TIME Magazine named Tony Fernandes to the 2015 TIME 100, the magazine’s annual list of the 100 most influential people in the world and in February 2016, Fernandes was recognized by the U.S. - ASEAN Business Council with the ‘Fourth Pillar’ award for his extraordinary contribution towards the growth of ASEAN. He is the second recipient of the award after the Administration of U.S. President Barack Obama.