Najib presents Fernandez with the Brand Icon Award.
Speaking at the Global Brand Forum Malaysia at the Palace of the Golden Horses, the maverick entrepreneur revealed his company’s ambitions at the end of a slide presentation.
To the amazement of those present, he showed two pictures – one of aircraft livery and the other of AirAsia’s new uniform for its stewardesses – and told his audience what he he would name his new company – “Singapore AirAsia”.
Fernandez, who was later presented with the Malaysian Icon Award by Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak for his contribution to the country, kept the audience in stitches throughout his one-hour presentation.
“And this is the uniform the stewardesses onboard Singapore AirAsia will wear,” he said, pointing to a picture of a smiling woman wearing a combination of the famous SIA baju kebaya and striking red AirAsia skirt.
While many in the audience laughed it off, industry observers took the view that it was a signal from Fernandez, following news reports of Malaysia Airlines having talks on a possible merger or a strategic alliance to form a global airline with British Airways and Qantas.
A Malaysian newsportal said that owing to global economic pressures, the airline industry was going through a consolidation period, with talks of mergers, acquisitions and bankruptcies dominating the business pages.
Najib said he was proud of Fernandez’s achievements, not only for his company but for the country as well.