Tony Fernandes started off in music biz

Tushar Srivastava

New Delhi, Feb. 21 -- Tony Fernandes, founder and CEO of AirAsia, on Wednesday announced plans to set up a low-cost airline along with the Tata Group. Fernandes (48), known as much for incredible entrepreneurial spirit as for his flamboyance, moved the European stock market when in June 2011 AirAsia placed a firm order with Airbus for 2 00 A320neo aircraft. The contract, announced at the Paris Air Show was the largest order ever placed for the A320 Family and made AirAsia the biggest airline customer for the Airbus single aisle product line worldwide.

Fernandes was born on April 30, 1964, in Kuala Lumpur. His father hailed from Goa. Known as the Richard Branson of Asian air travel, Fernandes after graduating from the London School of Economics in 1987, worked as an accountant for Branson's Virgin Records for a brief period.

The amateur guitarist went on to become vice-president for Southeast Asia for Warner Music Group but, in a dramatic change of direction, Fernandes left the music industry to buy AirAsia, a bankrupt carrier for a token fee of one Ringgit (Rs 17.5) and transformed it into an industry player.

In 2007, Fernandes started a hotel chain, Tune Hotels, and is also the founder of the Caterham FI Formula One team. In August 2011, he bought Bernie Ecclestone's 66% share in football club Queens Park Rangers.

AirAsia is Asia's largest low-cost carrier (LCC) in terms fleet size and with a route network that spans through to over 20 countries.

Published by HT Syndication with permission from Hindustan Times.