Tony Fernandes
Tony Fernandes

Want to know how to travel in style, just like the pros? We check in with frequent fliers to find out how often they fly, their favorite destinations and what they never leave home without.

Name: Tony Fernandes

Occupation: Co-Founder and AirAsia Group Chief Executive Officer

Hometown: Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia


Twitter: @tonyfernandes

Facebook: Tony Fernandes

Instagram: tonyfernandes

Short bio: One of Asia’s most recognizable entrepreneurs, Tan Sri Dr Tony Fernandes is best known for co-founding AirAsia, the region’s first low-cost airline, with Datuk Kamarudin Meranun. Fernandes famously bought the ailing airline for a token MYR1 (approximately USD0.25) and MYR40 million in debt, turning it around within two years and growing it from a Malaysian domestic carrier into Asia’s largest low-cost carrier by passengers carried, with operations in five countries serving some 260 routes to more than 120 destinations across Asia, Australia and New Zealand and the Middle East.

Fernandes studied at Epsom College and the London School of Economics and Political Science in the UK. An accountant by training, Fernandes began his career in Richard Branson’s Virgin Group before returning to Malaysia as Warner Music Group’s Vice President for Southeast Asia. Fernandes has received numerous honors and awards over the course of his career, including the Honour of the Commander of the Order of the British Empire, conferred by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II in 2011, and the Commander of the Legion d’Honneur, awarded by the French government for his outstanding contributions towards the economy of France through the aviation industry.

In 2010, Fernandes was named Businessman of the Year by Forbes Asia—the first person from Malaysia and Asean to receive the honor—for democratizing air travel and transforming AirAsia into a successful global brand. TIME magazine included Tony Fernandes in the 2015 TIME 100 list, and in 2016, Fernandes was recognized by the US-Asean Business Council with the Fourth Pillar Award for his extraordinary contribution towards the growth of Asean, the second recipient of the award after the Administration of US President Barack Obama.

How often do you fly? Once a week.

How many countries have you been to? About 50.

How many continents have you been to? All of them.

Earliest travel memory: Flying to Singapore.

Favorite American city: New York.

Favorite international city: London.

I have no desire to go to: North Pole.

Friendliest people in the world: Malaysians.

Country with the meanest immigration officers: US.

Favorite World Heritage Site: Borobudur.

Favorite airline: AirAsia.

Favorite aircraft type: Airbus A320.

Aisle or window: Aisle.

Favorite airport lounge: Emirates lounge at Dubai International Airport.

Favorite hotel: Shangri-La.

Favorite cruise line: Silversea Cruises.

Favorite island: Bali.

Favorite beach: Kuta.

Favorite National Park: Taman Negara.

Favorite fancy restaurant: Zheng Chelsea.

Favorite bar: The Vault KL.

Favorite fruit: Banana.

Favorite food: Roti canai.

Least favorite food: Squid.

Drink of choice (in the air and on the ground): Water.

Favorite travel movie(s): The Hangover series.

Favorite travel show(s): The Amazing Race.

Favorite travel book(s): Atlas Obscura.

Right now I am reading: “Time, Talent, Energy” by Michael Mankins and Eric Garton.

Top 3 favorite travel newsletters/magazines/blogs: DestinAsian, National Geographic, Conde Nast Traveler.

Favorite travel website(s)—besides, of course!

5 things you bring on a plane: Mobile phone, iPad, headphones, book, and work!

What do you always seem to forget? Cash.

What do you like least about travel? Airports.

What do you want your loved one to buy you from an airport Duty Free store? Chocolates.

What’s your dream destination? Maldives.

Favorite travel charity: AirAsia Foundation.

Best travel tip: Travel without metal to breeze past security checks.


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