In QZ8501 tragedy, AirAsia boss harnesses Twitter to show public leadership

AirAsia CEO Fernandes talks with his staff at Surabaya's Juanda International Airport
AirAsia chief Tan Sri Tony Fernandes (centre) talks with his staff at Surabaya’s Juanda International Airport. He has kept the public updated about the air crash through his Twitter postings. – Reuters pic, January 2, 2015.

In QZ8501 tragedy, AirAsia boss harnesses Twitter to show public leadership
Published: 2 January 2015

Formal press statements from the airline with updates on the crisis and ongoing recovery of bodies and wreckage are being issued to the media on a daily basis, but it is the CEO’s Twitter posts since day one that have engaged the public, rallied the staff’s spirits and kept the brand looking positive, even as the tragedy unfolded.

“On my way to Surubaya where most of the passangers (sic) are from as with my Indonesian management. Providing information as we get it,” he tweeted on December 27, even before local news outlets reported on the incident.

Over the past week, his flurry of tweets had ranged from frank admissions that the tragedy was the “worst nightmare” and “soul-destroying”, to calls for hope and prayers that the passengers would be safe.
“I as your group CEO will be there though these hard times. We will go through this terrible ordeal together and I will try to see as many of you,” he wrote.

Keeping morale high despite the tragic circumstances, Fernandes praised his “brave, strong and committed” staff from Indonesia, adding “my pride for them is enormous”.

On Tuesday, he related how the AirAsia crew sang in a plane his daughter boarded to Bali, saying that he wanted “the world to know what amazing people I have in this company”.

“She told me what amazing service our cabin crew gave and how everyone was so happy. It shows the spirit and the strength of our people,” he wrote, which was retweeted 305 times.

When authorities announced that wreckage and bodies were spotted at sea, Fernandes wasted no time in personally apologising and expressing his grief to the families of the QZ8501’s passengers.

“My heart is filled with sadness for all the families involved in QZ 8501. On behalf of AirAsia my condolences to all. Words cannot express how sorry I am,” he tweeted, adding he was rushing to Surabaya to do all he could.

Media outlets have compared Fernandes’s proactive stance with the “uncertainty” displayed by Malaysia Airlines CEO Ahmad Jauhari Yahya when MH370 went missing in March.

Flight QZ8501 crashed into the Java Sea early Sunday morning in bad weather while flying from Surabaya to Singapore with 155 passengers, including 16 children and one infant.

The passengers comprised 149 Indonesians, three South Koreans, one Singaporean, one Malaysian and one Briton. The co-pilot was a French national.

Sixteen bodies have been recovered to date, media agencies have reported.

Fight attendant Hayati Lutfiah Hamid, 39, was the first victim to be identified and was buried yesterday.

The plane was travelling at 32,000 feet (9,753 metres) and had asked to fly at 38,000 feet to avoid bad weather. When air traffic controllers granted permission for a rise to 34,000 feet a few minutes later, they received no response and lost radar contact with the Airbus 320-200 minutes later. – January 2, 2015.

– See more at:

#TonyFernandes  #AirAsia

Published by

Robert Chaen

Global CEO-Founder of ChangeU and Movsha Movers & Shakers, Hero-CEO Whisperer, Writer, The #1 Alpha Change Expert, Father of Asian FireWalking Robert Chaen is an International Keynote Speaker, writer, researcher, and corp games designer. He is famously known to be the “Hero-CEO Whisperer”, 1-on1 coaching with many CEOs and Celebrities for corporate strategies, staff & office political issues, personal branding, and even public figure OSHA safety drilling called Drager Defense. He has transformed CEOs and managers in Coca-Cola China, TVB Hong Kong, Cathay Pacific, Hong Kong Airport Services, VADS, TM, Public Bank, Auditor General's Office Maldives, etc. He is the prolific creator and online Author of innovative management tools such as DragonCEO, Diamond Leader, Papillon Personal Effectiveness, OSHA Drager Defense, KPI Bank, etc. He is also the Founder of Movsha, an international networking with monthly mingles with MOVers & SHAkers, Angels, Entrepreneurs, CEOs, Celebrities, HR-PR-CSR, HODs, and the Most Influential IDEA people. ​Chaen is widely considered as one of the top International Platform Keynote Speakers for Resorts World Genting Senior Management Conference (Manila), 7-Eleven HK, Samsung, Coca-Cola China Mini-MBA @Tsing Hua University, Cathay Pacific, Hong Kong Jockey Club, The Story Conference where he interviewed Datuk Kamarudin (Chairman of AirAsia) and Siti Nurhaliza. He has been widely featured in TVB, AWSJ, CNBC, SCMP, The Star, and Sin Chew. As “The Father of Asian FireWalking”, he coached TVB celebrities (Ekin Cheng Yee-Kin) to walk on 650°C fire; and raised HK$68M in the world’s 1st and only live TV Charity FireWalk (TVB Tung Wah Charity Show), before Tony Robbins even came to Asia. If Robert can get you to walk on 650⁰C fire, he can inspire you to be THE BEST. He champions CN-HK-EU-US Tycoons to be philanthropic, and to be angel investors to support the next generation of Jack Mas, Steve Jobs, Richard Bransons, Steven Spielbergs, or Barrack Obamas. With some slick motivational speakers with fake doctorates out there, graduates often describe Robert to be "the most credible, empowering, truthful Coach" who believe in his graduates to believe in themselves. ​However, clients have described Robert as "The #1 Cool Badass Alpha Change Expert". He has the coolest first class stature, rapport and trust from clients. He will not hesitate to tell the badass truth ever so gently because clients are paying him big bucks to reveal the truth, find solutions, persuade the hostile HODs, and align cross-teams within the organization. Originally based in Hong Kong for 20+ years, he had worked with top Branding/Ad agencies at J Walter Thompson and Leo Burnett, and was a certified FranklinCovey (7 Habits) in USA, and NLP MasterCoach (USA). His warmth is known to soften the most hardened, resistant sceptics. He will inspire your team to Go for Top 1, or to be a Dragon CEO. With boundless energies, Robert owns 15+ successful business Joint-Ventures, and created unique products under his global VC network called Chaen's Angels VC. He is deeply passionate about ChangeUTH Youth CSR, Science-Based Medicine (vs. quackery), short films and Reality TV. Touched by a personal tragedy through the loss of his HK-born Portuguese wife, co-coach and business partner, Brenda José of 18 years, Robert explores the many ways in which the spirit world is communicating with the living with real scientific studies and evidence. He gives inspiring conferences on The Secret Afterlife.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s