Fernandes keeps it simple, sees a big year for liberalisation
Tony Fernandes, CEO of AirAsia,
the CAPA Airline of the Year, told the Outlook Summit in Singapore that one
of biggest keys to his carrier's continuing success is keeping every level of
his operation as free of complexity as possible. "We believe in the KISS
principle – keep it simple, stupid," he says.
This approach, he notes, marks AirAsia as distinct from the competition. "I've never seen an industry that likes to unnecessarily complicate things as much as the airlines," the former music industry executive says, vowing that he spends 50% of his time "trying to keep bureaucracy from creeping into the system".
Looking to the future, the iconic airline's CEO sees a big year for his airline to continue expanding throughout its "ASEAN backyard", a development he sees catalysed in large part by Malaysia's move to open up the highly symbolic Kuala Lumpur-Singapore route ahead of ASEAN's capital city liberalisation programme. "It's a watershed in aviation that it's opening," he says, adding that he hopes to initiate service between the two cities by Dec-07.
Speaking of the benefits that this newly opened market will bring for consumers, Mr Fernandes points to the current fares commanded on the Singapore-Kuala Lumpur route. "A half-hour flight that is closed has ticket prices of MYR800. That's what we're going to charge on our flights to Gold Coast," he laughed, referencing the launch of his long-haul affiliate, which will make its first flight on 2 November.
Aviation Outlook Summit 2008 is the fourth meeting of the Centre's annual review of the Asia Pacific and Middle East airline industry and its future prospects. This year's gathering is focused on the need for Asian industry participants to play a leadership role in the events that continue to shape the global aviation sector, especially as the region begins to generate the largest share of world traffic.
Aviation leaders from all segments of the industry have assembled in Singapore to discuss and debate how the regional sector can proactively assert itself in such vital fields as the environment, liberalisation and the necessary evolution of the aviation business model, for both full-service and low cost airlines.
The event's organiser, the Sydney-based Centre for Asia Pacific Aviation, is the region's leading independent air transport research and analysis group. With offices in New Delhi, Singapore, Geneva, Vancouver and the UK, the Centre is the consensus authority on matters related to all elements of Asia Pacific airlines and airports.
For information on Centre products and services, visit the web site at centreforaviation.com.