Team Lotus boss Tony Fernandes has been awarded a CBE (Commander of the British Empire) by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, in recognition of his “services to promote commercial and educational links” between the United Kingdom and Malaysia.
The Malaysian-born entrepreneur and airline magnate becomes the latest F1 figure – joining the likes of David Coulthard, Ross Brawn and Jenson Button – to earn such recognition from the Royal Family.
Aside from his role as the team principal of Team Lotus, Fernandes his three partners shot to prominence after taking over the near-bankrupt AirAsia from the Malaysian government in December 2001, and have steadily built it into one of the most profitable and popular low-cost airlines in Asia.
Flights between the UK and Malaysia were established in 2008 via AirAsia X – the international long-haul brand for AirAsia founded a year before.
Fernandes’ other companies, such as the Tune Group, encompass other international business including hotels, telecommunications and financial services.
“I’m grateful to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II for the honour,” Fernandes said.
“It is a recognition of the hard work, determination and effort on the part of all my partners, colleagues and staff in AirAsia, Tune Group and Team Lotus.
“We have a terrific bunch of talented people working with us to make things happen in whatever venture we undertake. This is as much their award as it is mine.”
The CBE is the second major European award conferred upon Fernandes. Last year, the French government awarded him the title of Officier of the Légion d’honneur – France’s highest award for a non-citizen – for his contribution to the aviation industry.
Fernandes has also been recognised as the ‘Asia Businessman of the Year’ in 2010 by Forbes magazine, on top of a host of other awards from media organisation and private groups for his business activities.
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