Paul Gilham—Getty Images
April 15, 2015

More than 8 million people are in the air each day traveling in planes, trusting their lives to the care of strangers. Technicians, in-flight crew, pilots. You don’t hear much when things go as planned. When things go wrong, there is terrible speculation, uncertainty and questions from every direction.

People reveal their true selves in the worst of times. After learning that AirAsia Flight 8501 had gone missing, Tony Fernandes stilled the chaos by being himself—a family man and a business leader. He guided his company and employees through the horror. As AirAsia continued to serve its passengers, Tony acted as a friend, father and son to families whose darkest days were not done.

The end of every journey is home. With his strength, candor and compassion, Tony helps get AirAsia’s passengers home every day. And he continues to lead a company that has earned the trust of travelers.

Branson is the founder of the Virgin Group

Contact us at editors@time.com.

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