THE JOURNAL consists of selected, most notable and newsworthy POSTINGS OF THE DAY.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

5. Branson Joins Air Asia X

New investor in AirAsia X, billionaire Sir Richard Branson, believes that the long haul budget carrier will join his success list.

"No Virgin Group company has ever gone bankrupt. We started five airlines and all have been successful," he said.

The five airlines are Virgin Atlantic, Virgin Blue, Virgin Nigeria Virgin Galactic and most recently Virgin America.

Branson, who has investments in the travel, entertainment and lifestyle industries, is well known for keeping the "Virgin" brand in his business ventures but has chosen to do otherwise with AirAsia X.

His reason being that AirAsia is a strong brand in the region, and a testament not only for the company but also for the country.

"AirAsia brand is very big, bigger than Virgin out here," said AirAsia Bhd's group chief executive officer, Datuk Tony Fernandes.

AirAsia X, is the brainchild of both Branson and Fernandes.

"An idea conceived two years ago," said Fernandes.

However, both Fernandes and Branson have all along denied the possibility of a partnership between them.

The aviation tycoons have many similarities, among which is a burning desire to prove their sceptics wrong.

However, for AirAsia X, there are two powerful partners working together, said Branson.

Earlier, during the opening speech, Branson said that when he hired Fernandes in 1987 as the financial controller at Virgin Communications London, he saw something special in him.

"But I was foolish enough to lose him two years later," said Branson as Fernandes went to work with Warner Music International London as a senior financial analyst in 1989. Hence, he said he did not want to take his chances when Fernandes approached him with the idea of AirAsia X.

What the future holds for the AirAsia X and their "Dare to Dream" team is something Malaysians will need to wait and see.

For a start, it looks good.

As quoted in "The AirAsia Story" - "Beware of AirAsia, that red flash in the sky travelling at an unimaginable speed" - by M. Saraswathi, BERNAMA.