New senior management line-up for AirAsia

SEPANG: In refuting plans of retiring from AirAsia, group CEO Tan Sri Tony Fernandes today announced the new senior management line-up in line with the group’s new digitalisation strategy.

“I am not resigning or retiring,” said Tony at a media briefing today.

His comments came after denying the rumours of his retirement via a tweet post.

“Laughable that there is a rumour I’m retiring. My announcement is an exciting one that charts our future for AirAsia,” he tweeted.

AirAsia Bhd CEO Aireen Omar, who has been designated as deputy group CEO (digital transformation and corporate services), will be succeeded by Riad Asmat effective Jan 10, 2018.

Prior to Riad’s appointment, he was director for corporate planning, strategy & business development at Naza Corp Holdings Sdn Bhd.

AirAsia said Aireen’s appointment signals the group’s determination to transform itself from an aviation company into a digital corporation.

Meanwhile, Captain Adrian Jenkins has been appointed as AirAsia COO, reporting to deputy group CEO Bo Lingam (airline business).

AirAsia also announced the appointment of Rozman Omar as the executive director of AirAsia International Ltd, which is a holding company of all AirAsia group investments in its overseas joint ventures.

Tony expects the group’s digitalisation move will save 5% to 10% in operating expenditure by the end of next year.

“We’re going to have a record year in 2017, a lot of that is from the digitalisation (initiatives) that we’ve done…The positive income that we’re going to generate is massive.”

For the third quarter ended Sept 30, 2017, AirAsia reported a 42.8% rise in net profit to RM505.33 million against RM353.89 million in the previous corresponding period. However, its nine-month net profit fell 19.4% from RM1.57 billion to RM1.27 billion.

Tony remains bullish on the industry’s outlook as other countries are embracing low-cost development.

“We’re working with the Philippines and Thailand on two new low-cost airports. Indonesia is very keen as well. With that as well as the 3 billion people in Asia, we believe it will be a fantastic year ahead.”

On expansion, AirAsia said it will add another 30 aircraft next year, which will add 13% to 14% capacity at the group level.

Commenting on the divestment of its aircraft leasing unit Asia Aviation Capital Ltd, Tony said he is hoping to conclude the deal by March next year.

“I can’t give you a date. We’ve come down to the last bid. It’s progressing well.”

AirAsia has been looking to dispose of its non-core assets to fund the dividend payout.

Its share price closed 4 sen or 1.3% higher at RM3.23 today on some 8.66 million shares done.