Dato' Anthony Francis Fernandes is born 30 April 1964 also known as Tony Fernandes is a Malaysian entrepreneur and the

founder of Tune Air Sdn. Bhd., who introduced the first budget no-frills airline, AirAsia, to Malaysians with the tagline "Now everyone can fly". He rose to prominence by turning AirAsia, a fledging government-linked commercial airline, into a highly successful public-listed company. Fernandes was also instrumental in lobbying the then-Malaysian Prime Minister, Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad in mid-2003, to propose the idea of open skies agreements with neighbouring Thailand, Indonesia, and Singapore. As a result, these nations have granted landing rights to AirAsia and other discount carriers Born in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Fernandes, who is part Goan and part Malaccan Portuguese, is the son of the late Dr. Stephen Edward Fernandes, and Ena Dorothy Fernandez. When he was young, he used to follow his mother, a businesswoman, to Tupperware dealer parties and conventions. Educated at Epsom College 1977-83 and then graduating from the London School of Economics in 1987, he worked very briefly with Virgin Atlantic as an auditor, subsequently becoming the financial controller for Richard Branson's Virgin Records in London from 1987 to 1989.[1] Tony was admitted as Associate Member of the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) in 1991 and became Fellow Member in 1996. Upon his return to Malaysia, he became the youngest-ever managing director of Warner Music (Malaysia) Sdn Bhd. Though an accountant, Fernandes is an amateur guitarist and there lies his musical inclination. He was responsible for revolutionising ethnic music, nasyid and dangdut, bringing them into the mainstream of contemporary Malaysian music. He subsequently became the South East Asian regional vice-president for Warner Music Group from 1992-2001. When Time Warner Inc announced its merger with America Online Inc., Fernandes left to pursue his dream of starting a budget nofrills airline. However, his application for a license from the Malaysian government was rejected. It was through Datuk Pahamin A. Rejab, the former secretary-general of the Malaysian Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Ministry that Fernandes got to meet up with the then Prime Minister, Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad in October 2001. The wily Malaysian prime minister had a cropper in his hand, which he had been trying to unload for nearly two years. AirAsia, the heavily-indebted subsidiary of the Malaysian government-owned conglomerate, DRB-Hicom, was losing money big-time. Instead of starting from scratch, Mahathir advised Fernandes to buy an existing airline instead. Fernandes mortgaged his home and sank his savings to acquire the company, comprising two ageing Boeing 737-300 jets (9M-AAA and 9M-AAB) and USD$11 million (RM40 million) worth of debts, for 26 US cents (one ringgit), and transformed it into an industry player. Coming just after the September 11, 2001, undoubtedly the worst day in the history of commercial aviation when nobody wanted to fly, everyone thought that Fernandes had gone "crazy", predicting that the company would fail miserably. Yet, just one year after his takeover, AirAsia had broken even and cleared all its debts. Its initial public offering (IPO) in November 2004 was oversubscribed by 130 per cent. Fernandes

says his timing was in fact perfect: Since September 11, 2001, aircraft leasing costs were down 40%. Also, airline lay-offs mean experienced staff were readily available. He believed Malaysian travellers would embrace a cut-rate air service that will save them time and money, especially in a tight economy. That was why he copied one of the world's most successful no-frills carriers, Ryanair out of Ireland (which in turn is modelled after Southwest Airlines in the United States). Fernandes reckons that about 50 per cent of the travellers on Asia¶s budget airlines are first-time flyers. Before AirAsia, he estimates that only six per cent of Malaysians had ever travelled in a plane. In 2007, Tony Fernandes has again created a "first" in Asia by starting a hotel chain, Tune Hotels which is based on the no-frills concept. The first Tune Hotel was opened at the intersection of Jalan Sultan Ismail and Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman in the heart of Kuala Lumpur. Expansions are in the works as more hotels will be opened up throughout Malaysia. Fernandes' biggest achievement has been to turn AirAsia into an international carrier. Before the creation of AirAsia, countries in the region did not have open-skies agreements. In mid-2003, Fernandes' lobbying pushed Dr Mahathir to raise the idea with the leaders of neighbouring Thailand, Indonesia, and Singapore. As a result, those nations have granted landing rights to AirAsia and other discount carriers. Fernandes has indeed set in motion the advent of budget carriers in the region. Now, South east Asia hosts a number of low-price carriers such as: Singapore¶s Tiger Airways (owned by Singapore Airlines); Singapore¶s Valuair, and Jetstar Asia (partly owned by Qantas Airways) (both airlines merged in 2005); Thailand's Nok Air; and Indonesia's Lion Air. In 2004, AirAsia formed successful joint ventures in Thailand and Indonesia where AirAsia holds 49% stake in both companies. Thai AirAsia, a joint venture with Shin Corporation, Thailand¶s largest telecommunication conglomerate, took to the skies in Feb 2004 and has to date carried over 1 million guests in its first year of operations. PT AWAIR, re-launched as a low fare airline on Dec 8th 2004 presently serves 5 domestic destinations in Indonesia. Fernandes has received several awards for his outstanding achievements: International Herald Tribune Award for the "Visionaries & Leadership Series", for his outstanding work in AirAsia; "Malaysian CEO of the Year 2003" in December 2003 ² a highly acclaimed recognition, so far awarded to only nine other recipients in the country, by American Express and Business Times. The award was an initiative to recognize entrepreneurial and managerial expertise and performance among leaders of Malaysian corporations. Named the joint winner of the CEO of the Year 2003 award by American Express Corporate Services and Business Times . "Emerging Entrepreneur of the Year " in the Ernst & Young "Entrepreneur Of The Year Awards" in 2003; Made the list of Business Week's "25 Stars of Asia" in 2005. "Malaysian Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year 2006" Fernandes has also been honoured by the Malaysian government with title Dato. In 2007, Tony Fernandes has again created a "first" in Asia by starting a hotel chain, Tune Hotels which is based on the no-frills concept. The first Tune Hotel was opened at the intersection of Jalan Sultan

Ismail and Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman in the heart of Kuala Lumpur. Expansions are in the works as more hotels will be opened up throughout Malaysia. Another new Tune Hotel will be opening soon in Bali, Indonesia. As of 2009, Fernandes is also the president of the ABL (Asian Basketball League).[2] Fernandes has stated that it has always been a dream of his to be able to be involved with the development of sports in the ASEAN region. Fernandes is the team principal of the new Lotus F1 Racing, which has been granted entry into the 2010 Formula One season. Having initially planned to stand down from the role after the season begins,[4] he has since indicated that he will carry on in this position.[5]

On 16 December 2009, Fernandes accepted a "challenge" from Richard Branson, a fellow airline boss and the owner of Lotus' fellow F1 newcomers Virgin Racing, where the losing team's boss should work on the winner's airline for a day dressed as a stewardess joking "The sexier the better. Our passengers will be delighted to be served by a Knight of the Realm, but knowing Richard, the real challenge will be to prevent him from asking our guests 'coffee, tea or me?' That would be scary." On top of this, the team also produced a poster depicting Branson in an Air Asia uniform. Fernandes' biggest achievement has been to turn the AirAsia airline into an international carrier. Before the creation of AirAsia, countries in the region did not have open-skies agreements. In mid-2003, Fernandes' lobbying pushed Dr Mahathir to raise the idea with the leaders of neighbouring Thailand, Indonesia, and Singapore. As a result, those nations have granted landing rights to AirAsia and other discount carriers. Fernandes has indeed set in motion the advent of budget carriers in the region. Now, Southeast Asia hosts a number of low-price carriers such as:Malaysia's Firefly (owned by Malaysia Airlines) Singapore¶s Tiger Airways (owned by Singapore Airlines);Singapore¶s Valuair and Jetstar Asia (partly owned by Qantas Airways) (both airlines merged in 2005).