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ASEANAFFAIRS’ interview with
Tony Fernandes, CEO, AirAsia Bhd
AirAsia has been on an overdrive, so to speak. Is it a drawback the long wait for the delivery of new aircraft when you are expanding fast, particular your long-haul operations?
AirAsia prides ourselves as an amazing airline that is always creative. So far things have been great with our strong planning strategies that provide flexibility and yet manage to achieve the target revenue/goal.
Q: What is the impact of the One-Two-Go crash in Phuket on the AirAsia stock and its load factor?
A: There is no impact at all. AirAsia does not compromise on safety and service and we have a host of world class partners such as Airbus, GE and others to maintain the highest standards.
Q: How would you respond to the apparent perception that low-cost carriers are less safe?

A: Low cost carrier reduce the fare by implementing the no-frills concept, i.e. we take out unnecessary cost or optional expenses that are included in full service carrier, such as complimentary in-flight meal, extra cabin crews, lay over time, usage of aerobridge, etc. Safety is not “frill”; it is essential to airlines and AirAsia never compromise this to keep our fare low. AirAsia optimizes costs and conscious about cost effectiveness but not at expense of safety.
Q: How could the tie-up with Virgin Blue boost profit target of AirAsia X?

A: Virgin is an established brand worldwide. Investment from Virgin says lot about their confidence in AirAsia. In addition, this speaks out directly about the brand itself. The 2 brands, ie, AirAsia and Virgin do have a lot of dynamism and synergy.
Q: How does AirAsia manage to keep the fares of the budget routes lowest amidst the rise in fuel prices?

A: Efficiency, instilling cost consciousness in staff and team work from the great people in the company, from ramp staff, pilots, cabin crew to the administrative staff.
Q: What are AirAsia plans to further expand its business in Asean?

A: We will constantly look into improving the connectivity of the existing destinations and opening up new markets. Also, to complement the global connectivity from AirAsia X. We bring long-haul passengers from all across the globe and connect them via the strong network of AirAsia.
Q: Please comment on the prospects of AirAsia in Asean as more regional airlines begin to enter the no frills market?
A: We are proud to be a part of Asean. We have come a long way since our inception nearly 6 years ago. Our aim is to put Malaysia as the aviation hub in the region with the global connectivity from AirAsia X.

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