AirAsia to the rescue of Malaysia Airlines

AirAsia chief Tony Fernandes once said his dream was to own Singapore Airlines (SIA). While that might seem to be a little too far-fetched for now, he has taken a major step in acquiring a stake in a full-service airline, none other than compatriot Malaysia Airlines (MAS).

The share swap between the two carriers that could see Mr Fernandes owning a 20 per cent stake in the national flag carrier was the budget carrier’s white knight come to the rescue of the ailing full-service airline to help check its plunge further into the red. AirAsia stands to gain from the deal, which may be Mr Fernandes’ ticket to having a bigger say in how the aviation landscape shapes up in and beyond Malaysia.

This deal may have taken a long time to come, but considering how Mr Fernandes first started when he bought the heavily indebted budget carrier in 2001 for a token sum of only one Malaysian ringgit (about US$0.40 at that time), then turned it around to become Asia’s largest budget carrier, he has indeed come a long way. There’s certainly a lot to be said about having a dream!

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About David Leo
David Leo has more than 30 years of aviation experience, having served in senior management in one of the world's best airlines and airports. He continues to maintain a keen interest in the business, writes freelance and provides consultancy services in the field.

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