Published on Friday, December 9, 2011

I'm going nowhere, says AirAsia boss

AirAsia has been quick to deny reports that CEO Tony Fernandes is preparing to quit the airline.

AirAsia said Fernandes’ statement (reported by Malaysian national news agency, Bernama) “was made only in reference to his aspiration and expectation of the quality of his successor, should he decides to retire in the future".

“However, our group CEO does not have any plans to relinquish his leadership of the company any time ‘soon’ as suggested by the article,” said the airline spokesman.

Fernandes will be a key player in attempts by Qantas to forge a closer relationship with Malaysia Airlines and launch an ultra-premium airline in southeast Asia.

Air Asia owns 20% of Malaysia Airlines, which has unveiled a business plan to return the group back to the black by 2013.

“Malaysia Airlines needs to make hard and unpopular decisions simply to survive in order for it to then have the possibility to thrive and realise the airline’s vision,” said group chief executive Ahmad Jauhari Yahya.

MAS plans to dump loss-making routes, add 23 new aircraft and spin off ancillary businesses.

And by the second half of 2012, MAS will launch a new regional premium airline to connect Malaysia to ASEAN destinations and key cities in South Asia and Greater China, using a fleet of Boeing 737-800s.

“We are also exploring the possibility of joint ventures with partners in order to serve multiple markets together, while reducing the financial risks of going alone,” said Ahmad Jauhari. 

One of those partners is believed to be Qantas.

by TravelMole Asia

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