Tony Fernandes

In: People

Submitted By icetazman
Words 3446
Pages 14
Tony Fernandes, founder and CEO of Asia's first low-budget carrier Air Asia, talks with Andrew Stevens.

Tony Fernandes, founder and CEO of Air Asia

A: Tony Fernandes, welcome to Talk Asia.
T: Thanks for having me.
A: We talk about you, a lot of people talk about you and describe you as the Richard Branson of Asia. Do you like that comparison?
T: Well, I mean Richard Branson has done a lot of great things, so it's a bad comparison, but we're very, very different people, from a business philosophy. We're also very similar in some areas, but we are different business-wise. But there could be worse people that we're compared to.
A: Mr. Branson, Richard Branson, has actually just bought into your long haul operation, which is gonna be starting shortly, taking 20 percent for not a huge amount -- under 10 million, we believe. What are you gonna get out of that? How do you get the Branson name or magic involved in that?
T: Well, I think what a lot of people have missed out, is we started this idea about two years ago. I mean we're obviously friends, we've known each other for a long time, I worked for him initially, 20 odd years ago. So we talked about doing something together. We talked about Virgin Blue first, but that didn't work out 'cause he had a funny kind of partner back then. Through a conversation we said, hey, why don't we try this out. And, so he's really a founder as much as I am, and I think if this model works, there's no reason why it can't go into the UK and other parts where Virgin are in.
A: This is a big if, because the long-haul model, the short-haul works obviously, your short-haul model works. And you're basing the long-haul on the short-haul plan...
T: Well, do you know, um, if I can go back five years, everyone said a short-haul low-cost carrier couldn't work in Asia. And the market stubbed two fingers after that, we've carried…...

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