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How AirAsia Started

AirAsia founded on 20th December 1993, is a multinational low-cost airline near Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia and being the largest airline by fleet size and destinations however, it never started off with the success it has now.

With the airline heavily indebted, it was quite a shock and a dangerous investment for a former executive Tony Fernandes and Kamarudin Meranun's company Tune Air Sdn Bhd for the token sum of one ringgit (about US$0.26 at the time) with US$11 million (MYR 40 million) worth of debts. It was even more surprising to see how much Tony Fernandes contributed into this airline and eventually changed the course of this “doomed” airline.

An Aspiring Vision

One of the main wishes that made Tony Fernandes to buy an airline was because of his experiences of being a young man who wanted to fly home to Malaysia during his mid-term holidays but was unfortunately denied due to the expensive tickets however, this wasn’t his main goals in his life.

It was quite surprising from Tony Fernandes as he quits his job in the music industry at its peak to buy an airline. Unknowingly trademarking his trait of spontaneity, Tune Air Sdn Bhd was founded by Tony Fernandes and his remarkable partners, Dato Pahamin Rejab, Dato Kamarudin Meranun and Dato Aziz Bakar.

With this company in his hands, he envisions to create a better environment, ridding it of it’s exclusivity through offering low fares and better qualities of travel.

A Dangerous Game

With the most recent disaster of the 9/11 attacks in the US and fear of air travel was high, It would seem quite foolish to buy a heavily indebted airline but Fernandes remained unruffled by what others believed to be a challenging time period to purchase an airline.

What most saw a dying industry, Fernandes and his team saw an hidden opportunity to jumpstart and renew the business by introducing a brand new airline with an unusual business model.

In such desperate times, many skilled and experienced industry workers to the fledgling airline. Expanding the fleet of aircraft also proved to be cheaper than expected, as lease prices were at an all-time low and was the most favorable period to expand the airline with bigger and better plans in the long term.

Full Speed Ahead

At the end of 2006, Fernandes revealed a five-year plan to further enhance AirAsia’s presence in Asia, proposing to enhance its route network by connecting all of its existing destinations throughout the region and expanding further into Vietnam, Indonesia, Southern China (Kunming, Xiamen, Shenzhen) and India.

AirAsia had also started a Thai partnership, added Singapore to the destination list, and started flights to Indonesia. Flights to Macau began in June 2004 with flights to mainland China (Xiamen) and the Philippines (Manila) in April 2005. Flights to Vietnam and Cambodia followed suit in 2005 and to Brunei and Myanmar in 2006, the latter by Thai AirAsia.

Through its sister companies, Thai AirAsia and Indonesia AirAsia, the plan was focused on developing its hub in Bangkok and Jakarta. With increased frequency and the addition of new routes, AirAsia increased passenger volume to 13.9 million in its 2007 fiscal year.

With Flying Colours

Over the past decade of AirAsia’s lifetime, this airline has marked hundreds of amazing achievements. Not only is it everybody’s favourite airline with its comfortable yet affordable flight experience, the company also has a remarkable aptitude towards keeping up with trends and being fresh by initiating the latest and best technological advances in passenger services.

It doesn’t stop there when it comes to their achievements. For instance, one of the most outstanding milestones made by the airline includes becoming the world’s first ever airline to offer a total comprehensive booking system that targeted mobile phones and wireless devices in 2005.

“Everyone Can Fly”

As of now, AirAsia still retains their unwavering focus on providing the lowest airfares with the highest possible service quality to any guest who boards their airline. Heavily invested in ASEAN, they plan to open more routes, increase flight frequencies, offer new products and services, and set more joint ventures in the region.

AirAsia continues to be a herald for low-cost air travel through state-of-the-art results, competent procedures, and a fiery and passionate system to industry. With its signature motto, they hope to create air travel as accessible and affordable as they can for the millions of people who together call ASEAN, northeast Asia and South Asia their home.


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