Lotus Racing Team Principal and AirAsia Group CEO, Tony Fernandes was today conferred the title of Officier of the Legion d' Honneur by the government of France for his outstanding contributions to the aviation industry.
Mr. Dominique Bussereau, Secretary of State for Transport of France, conferred the title on Fernandes in a ceremony held in Paris and attended by some of the biggest names in European business.
Officier of the Legion d' Honneur is the highest rank of honor that the government of France can award to a non-French citizen. The Legion d' Honneur was established by Napoleon Bonaparte in 1802 to recognize outstanding service to France.
AirAsia has contributed largely to the French and European economies by supporting the European-owned and Toulouse-based Airbus, an EADS company. AirAsia has placed firm orders of Airbus aircraft including 175 A320, 25 A330 and 10 A350 aircraft. AirAsia also has an option to purchase 50 more A320 and five more A350 aircraft.
Tony Fernandes co-founded AirAsia and has led the airline in its transformation from a loss-making Malaysian airline into the ASEAN airline that it is now. AirAsia, Asia's leading and largest low-cost carrier, also connects the ASEAN region with China, India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Australia. Through its low-cost long-haul affiliate AirAsia X, it connects the region with more destinations in Asia (China, Taiwan and soon India), Australia and Europe (through the United Kingdom).
Under the leadership of Fernandes, in only eight years, AirAsia has grown its fleet from two aircraft to 92, its staff from 250 to 7,000, and its routes from one to more than 132. It has to date flown more than 85 million passengers."