In 2001, Tony Fernandes, bought an indebted airline for less than a dollar. That Airline is now the thriving airline, AirAsia.

With no experience in the airline industry, Fernandes remortgaged his house and managed to group several investors together to relaunch the airline as AirAsia.

During this period, he slept in his office in Kuala Lumpur airport and dreamt of the possibilities of a budget airfare for those living and traveling through Asia.

2001 was a tough time to be in the airline industry. Every other airline seemed to be cutting back to lower their overheads whilst AirAsia was cutting fares and working with lower profit margins. Needless to say, it was a huge struggle to secure backing from investors in order to grow the new airline.

In 2002, AirAsia managed to secure $30 million investment from Credit Suisse which allowed them to grow rapidly and capitalise on budget airline travel in Asia. They expanded quickly, buying more aircraft and flying new routes.

In just over a decade, AirAsia has grown into Asia’s largest budget airline. They fly approximately 45 million passengers a year to 80+ destinations and have been named the world’s best low-cost airline for 7 years in a row.

The airline, which was bought for less than a dollar, has become a leading airline group with a market cap of $2.1 billion.

What an incredible success story.


Photo credit: Quartz

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