AirAsia Group CEO Tony Fernandes has spoken out against what he describes as “fair-weather” friends from the corporate world who ditched the company as it goes through its worst financial crisis yet, brought on by the Covid-19 pandemic.
The budget airline tycoon however stopped short of naming who he meant, saying he preferred to reveal them in a “very very strong book” that he is currently working on.
“The biggest learning for me is fair-weather friends and fair-weather corporations that made so much money from you over the 19 years,” Fernandes said in an online talk show hosted by Harith Iskander.
“And then when you hit a spot of bother, they drop you like a hot potato. And that is a really, really good lesson for me,” he said.
He said on the other hand, there were some companies which had stood beside AirAsia despite its current downturn.
“Those are the companies that are visionary, that don’t look at today but look at the management. Was AirAsia a good airline before Covid? Yes. Was it profitable? Yes. Will it be a good airline again after Covid? Absolutely, probably better.”
He added that he was ready to prove his critics wrong, saying he was confident AirAsia would be profitable again after having survived 16 months of being grounded.
“There is nothing more exciting than a challenge of proving people wrong, and that’s what drives me every day – that I am going to have the last laugh, and I am going to be so proud of my staff,” he added.
AirAsia, which had ventured into food and beverages even before the pandemic, recently expressed interest in other non-aviation sectors including ride-hailing and delivery services.