Tony Fernandes, the former Team Principal of the Caterham F1 Team, has been awarded France’s highest national honour to a non-citizen, the Commander of the Legion d’Honneur.
The Malaysian entrepreneur was presented with the gong in a ceremony held at the Elysée Palace in Paris and conferred by the country’s Prime Minister, François Hollande.
Established in 1802, the awards recognise the outstanding service by individuals to France. Fernandes was bestowed the honour in recognition of his continued commitment to France’s via the aviation industry.
Fernandes’ low-cost carrier airline, AirAsia, contains a fleet of over 160 aircraft manufactured by Airbus, the French-owned commercial jet manufacturer.
“It is truly an honour to be conferred the Commander of the Legion d’Honneur, and I am humbled with the recognition given by the government of France. Aviation is an important industry that not only contributes to the economy of countries, but also provides jobs, connects communities and enhances livelihoods,”: Fernandes said of his award.
“As the Group CEO of AirAsia, I am proud that we have positively contributed both directly and indirectly towards many peoples’ lives. This is great motivation for me to continue to steer the group to greater heights, and once again, I am grateful for this incredible honour.”
It is not the first time that Fernandes has been recognised in the Legion d’Honneur awards. In 2010, Fernandes was awarded an Officer of the Legion d’Honneur ranks in 2010. The following year, he was awarded a Commander of the British Empire (CBE) by Queen Elizabeth II.
Seven-time Formula 1 World Champion Michael Schumacher was also awarded an Officer of the Legion d’Honneur in 2010.