In September 2001, Tony Fernandes left his job as vice president and head of Warner Music's Southeast Asian operations. He reportedly cashed in his stock options, took out a mortgage on his house, and lined up investors to take control of AirAsia, a struggling Malaysian airline. Three days later, terrorists destroyed the World Trade Center. Despite the negative aftermath of the 9-11 attacks, by 2003, AirAsia had demonstrated that the low-fare model epitomized by Southwest and JetBlue in the United States, and by Ryanair and easyJet in Europe, had great potential in the Asian marketplace. Now, Fernandes had to make plans to ensure that AirAsia maintained its momentum while considering the influx of new entrants into the low-fare segment of the airline industry in Asia.
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