Tony Fernandes has stepped down as AirAsia X's (AAX) acting group CEO due to other commitments, the company said in a Bursa filing. The airline said in a separate statement that Fernandes (pictured) is doing so to ensure a smooth transition in leadership. "Mahmood Fawzy will be appointed as the independent non-executive director of Thai AirAsia X (TAAX), both effective as of today," the airline added. Following the announcement, Mahmood Fawzy will focus on overseeing the strategic direction and driving sustainable growth for the medium-haul airline group - AAX and TAAX.
Fernandes was appointed to the roles of acting group CEO and non-independent non-executive director on 8 July, after Nadda Buranasiri resigned. Two weeks ago on 14 October, the group said in an amended Bursa announcement that Fernandes has also been redesignated as non-independent executive director.
Fernandes explained that he went in with a clear mandate to restart AAX and bring it back to life from hibernation. "I am happy that this has been accomplished with a very edifying plan for 20 aircraft for the AAX Group— 13 aircraft for AAX and seven for Thai AAX. After the excellent job led by Lim Kian Onn on the restructuring, my job was to bring the airline back to profitability and growth," he said.
According to him, the team has improved the cost structure and created the cargo business, which has contributed about 20% to the airline’s revenue during the pandemic and will continue to play a vital role in the recovery of AAX.
"I am confident that AAX will come back stronger providing a great value mid-range travel, led by the senior leadership teams in Malaysia and Thailand. I’m now going to focus on delivering significant value to shareholders of Capital A, including the AirAsia Aviation Group, aviation services, logistics, travel, fintech and the eCommerce lifestyle platform," he added.
Meanwhile, Mahmood Fawzy said the group's strategy is to focus on flying its most popular and profitable medium-haul routes first, which have proven to be successful in the past including leveraging cargo operations in key markets. According to him, AAX Group is reborn and rebounding fast thanks to strong pent up demand for affordable mid-range travel across Asia and Asia Pacific.
"In just a short period of six months, AAX has already increased its cash flow by over 100% compared to when it restarted in April, with robust plans to continue this positive trajectory moving forward," he said. He added that to cater to consumer demand, the AAX Group has added a significant number of new services for both Malaysia-based AAX and Thailand-based TAAX over recent times with many more in the pipeline.
"We cannot thank Fernandes enough and as an exceptional leader, he will always continue to be a valued part of the AAX family and his guidance will always be greatly welcomed," Mahmood Fawzy said.
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