To grow his budget airline, AirAsia CEO Tony Fernandes has leveraged the company's first-mover advantage in tough-to-crack Asian markets while focusing on keeping operating costs to a minimum. The results are impressive: AirAsia's cost-per-passenger-mile is now lower than those of the American and European budget airlines on which it was modeled. "It's all about keeping costs down," Fernandes says. "If you had sat in our budget meeting last week you'd have seen that that's all I talk about."
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