AirAsia X CEO Tells Hult Students “Innovate and Embrace Your Mistakes”
(SHANGHAI – April 24, 2012) Speaking at Hult International Business School, Azran Osman-Rani, CEO of AirAsia X, told students to learn “the art of making mistakes.” An art which helped AirAsia X to annual revenues of US$600 million just four years after the company began. The 40-year-old CEO spoke at Hult’s Executive Speaker Series in Shanghai, where he revealed his plan to make AirAsia X a US$1 billion business within the next five years.
Experts had dismissed AirAsia X’s dream of a low-cost long-haul airline as impossible, but this didn’t put off Osman-Rani – “Just because everyone else says it cannot be done doesn’t mean that they’re all right”. Emphasizing the need for innovation to an audience of MBA students, he explained how being an industry outsider helped him spot what the experts had missed – that most modern air travelers are more concerned with flight prices than flight times.
AirAsia X successfully competed against the world’s major airlines by flying aircrafts 40% more often and removing the Executive Class to make room for 30% more standard class seats. It was now “simple maths” said Osman-Rani modestly. Beginning with a single aircraft and a unique insight, AirAsia X demonstrated to multinational companies that flying low-cost long-haul at a profit was not “impossible.”
The CEO explained how innovation was key to AirAsia X’s success and that there was an art to making mistakes which was vital in facilitating that. “People and organizations tend to be risk-averse,” he explained. “The key difference […] is how you deal with […] things that you do wrong. [We] accept it, embrace it, and move on.”
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