FOXTROTS

 

Fox – sly.  Trots – left-leaning (Trotsky) plus its more insalubrious meaning. 

Foxtrots – leading the industry in a dance.

 

September 17 2011

 

Air Asia. Flawed award floors.

 

I

AM surprised that the UK has given Tony Fernandes, the head of Air Asia, one of its regal awards – an anachronistic Commander of the Order of the British Empire. He has already been given a title in his homeland, Malaysia – Dato Sri, a high title, perhaps similar to ‘Lord’ in the UK.

 

 

The citation says the UK award was conferred “for services to promote commercial and educational links” between the UK and Malaysia. Yet his main claim to fame is making an airline in Asia – Air Asia – a success, and starting a daily route to the UK with one of its operating divisions.

 

 

I presume the UK has been duped by hagiographic publicity. To me, Fernandes is little more than a clever and successful businessman, having copied a businessplan from UK airline Easyjet, which copied it from Texas-based Southwest, which copied it from California-based PSA.

 

 

He also helped a middling fee-paying school in the UK, Epsom College, to open in Kuala Lumpur.

 

 

But the UK is not alone in giving Fernandes senseless awards. France gave him Legion d’Honneur, in 2010. Why? For “outstanding contributions to aviation”. I still do not know why France gives an award for contributions to aviation, outstanding or not, but I presume in reality it is because Fernandes buys assembled-in-France Airbus aircraft.

 

 

(His airline has now started a route to Paris. I believe that as presumably he gets help for this route from the France government, it is he who should be giving an award to the France government for “services to Asian airlines”.)

 

 

The Fox