On April 30 in the year 1964, one of the famous entrepreneurs in the budget airline industry was born in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. His name is Tan Sri Anthony Francis “Tony” Fernandes, the founder of the Tune Group of Companies that included AirAsia.
Tony Fernandes was the son Indian immigrants to Malaysia where they established a Tupperware dealership. He was educated at Epsom College in London and obtained a degree in economics from the London School of Economics. After graduation, he joined the music division of the Virgin Group as a finance officer in the audit department. Upon returning to Malaysia, he became the South East Asian regional vice-president for Warner Music.
In 2001, Tony Fernandes incorporated Tune Berhad as his vehicle in its acquisition of the struggling AirAsia, then a subsidiary of government-controlled conglomerate DRB-Hicom. With the backing of the Malaysian Government, he paid the heavily indebted airline for a token amount of less than $1. In partnership with Kamarudin Meranun, he rehabilitated the airline within one year with the full payment of its debt. He went on to launch an IPO for the company in 2004. With additional capital, the airline expanded the number of destinations and at the same time established subsidiaries and affiliates in Thailand, Philippines, Indonesia, India, Vietnam, China, and Japan. It also formed AirAsiaX to carry passengers over long hauls.
Tony Fernandes has since diversified into other businesses such as budget hotels, telecommunication, financial services, sports, media and creative industries.
Tony Fernandes has two children with his first wife. His current wife is South Korean actress, Chloe. According to forbes.com, he is one of the richest Malaysian with a net worth of $345 million as of November, 2017.