Air Asia, Malaysia’s homegrown budget carrier landed on another major landmark after being included in the World’s 50 Most Innovative Companies list, termed in short as the Fast 50 2008. The company is placed at number 43.
The study was made and published by Fast Company, an international monthly magazine that covers innovation, technology, digital media, leadership, design and entrepreneurship.
Not only Air Asia became the first Malaysia company to be listed, it is also the only Asian brand who makes it to the top 50 this year.
The report is also full of praise for Air Asia, describing the airline as “most profitable carriers, making its name – and money – by defying industry convention and democratizing air travel”. The finding also credited Air Asia with the fact that the company is operating at one of the lowest costs among other airlines in the world.
Air Asia was an ailing local airline which was bought for RM1 (about US0.30) by Tony Fernandes, alongside some 15 million dollars in debt. Under Tony’s leadership, the company underwent a remarkable turnaround, exceeding all expectation, and today prides himself as one of the largest carriers offering affordable flight services.
At the peak of its achievement, Air Asia overtook the country’s national air carrier, Malaysia Airlines, as well the neighboring airways, Singapore Airlines (SIA) in terms of revenue size and profitability. There was more surprise to come when Fernandes, together in partnership with Richard Branson of the Virgin Group, launched Air Asia X in late 2007, which flies long haul destination to Australia and China. In the process it became the first low-cost carrier in the world to have made such a move.
As a pioneer of the low cost airline in Asia, it is also the first company to offer its passengers ticketless traveling. Some of other innovative services and solutions provided by Air Asia are the web check-in, self check-in kiosk, express boarding, mobile services, electronic gift voucher, co-branding with Tune Hotels and Tune Money, and many more.
The top winner of 2008 World’s Most Innovative Companies goes to Google.com, which came as a little surprise for many, due to its growth and unstoppable introduction of breakthrough products and technology. Other notable presence in the top 50 entry include Nike, Facebook, Disney, General Electric, BMW, IBM and Apple.