PETALING JAYA: TIME magazine has named AirAsia Group CEO Tan Sri Tony Fernandes as one of the 100 most influential persons in the world.
The annual list, in its 12th year, saw Fernandes being named with celebrities like Kanye West, Taylor Swift and Kim Kardashian, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella.
The list recognises the activism, innovation and achievement of the world’s most influential individuals.
In a press statement Friday, Fernandes said it was a tremendous honour to be included in the 2015 TIME 100 list.
"I was shocked when I first received the news but I am very proud and humbled.
"This has been a challenging year but my entire career has been about challenges and with every obstacle, we learn and become even better.
"I believe we are making forward strides and I am excited about the future. This year will be about refocusing my attention on the core businesses starting with AirAsia," he added.
Fernandes said AirAsia was committed to strengthening its core proposition of providing the highest value product and further expanding its network across Asean and beyond.
"We have always been about serving the under-served, whether it be through our services and products or giving chances to our staff where we have pilots who used to be purchasing assistants, department heads who started as baggage handlers and flight attendants who used to be administrative assistants.
"My hope is that the work we do through AirAsia and Tune Group enables and inspires the next generation of Asean entrepreneurs and small-and-medium enterprise (SME) owners and propels them into success," he said in the statement.
Fernandes and business partner Datuk Kamarudin Meranun purchase a then loss-making AirAsia from its Malaysian owner for RM1 in 2001, along with over US$11mil in debt.
AirAsia is the largest low-cost carrier in Asia, going to over 90 destinations. Since its start, the airline has carried more than 280 million passengers and grown its fleet from just two aircraft to more than 190, with short-haul operations in Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, Philippines and India, and long-haul operations in Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand.
AirAsia was been named the World’s Best Low Cost Airline in the annual World Airline Survey by Skytrax for six consecutive years from 2009 to 2014.