AirAsia X announces key changes in management line-up

An AirAsia X aircraft climbing steeply after takeoff
Mehdi Nazarinia (GFDL 1.2 or GFDL 1.2), via Wikimedia Commons

LONDON – AirAsia X has announced key changes in the airline’s management team as it is preparing for the next phase of growth.

The next phase

Tony Fernandes, who has recently been appointed as the Acting Group CEO, in addition to his position as a Non-Independent Non-Executive Director of AirAsia X (AAX) in July of this year, will be stepping down from his senior leadership positions within AirAsia X, which will ensure a smooth transition in leadership.

His replacement will be Tunku Dato’ Mahmood Fawzy for the Thai AirAsia X (TAAX) division as the Independent Non-Executive Director, effective from October 31. Tunku Mahmood will focus on overseeing the strategic direction and driving sustainable growth for the medium-haul group, including the main AirAsia X and the Thai division.

New AirAsia X Acting Group CEO

Tunku Mahmood commented the move, saying: “I am thrilled to join the TAAX board of directors as the Group embarks on our new phase of growth as a predominantly mid-range airline. Our strategy is to focus on flying our most popular and profitable medium-haul routes first, which have proven to be successful in the past including leveraging cargo operations in key markets.

“AAX Group is reborn and rebounding fast thanks to strong pent-up demand for affordable mid-range travel across Asia and Asia Pacific. The resurgence in AAX and TAAX as leading low-cost carriers in the mid-range category, would not have been possible without the outstanding leadership and support from Tony as Acting Group CEO.”

“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.”

“To cater to the overwhelming consumer demand, the AAX Group has added a significant number of new services for both Malaysia-based AAX (D7) and Thailand-based TAAX (XJ) over recent times with many more in the pipeline. We cannot thank Tony 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.” 

“As AAX and TAAX chart a new and exciting era, I am thrilled to be part of the onward success of AAX Group as we take both airlines to new altitudes in the future.”

Comment from former Acting Group CEO

The previous acting CEO, Tony Fernandez, also commented, saying: “I went in with a clear mandate to restart AirAsia X 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. We have 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 e-commerce lifestyle platform.”

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