Tony Fernandes, Caterham Group co-chairman and group CEO of AirAisa, has been conferred with the Commander of the Legion d'Honneur award by the French government.

The honour recognises his 'outstanding contribution towards the economy of France through both the aviation and automotive industries'.

Francois Hollande, president of France bestowed the award to Fernandes in a ceremony held on Tuesday at the Elys?e Palace in Paris, France.

The Legion d'Honneur award was established by Napoleon Bonaparte in 1802 to recognise outstanding service of individuals to France, and the Commander of the Legion d'Honneur is the highest rank of honour that the French government can award to a non-French citizen.

"It is truly an honour to be conferred the Commander of the Legion d'Honneur, and I am humbled with the recognition given by the government of France," said Fernandes. "Both the automotive and aviation industries are incredibly important, not only contributing to the economy of France, but also providing jobs, connecting communities and countries and enhancing livelihoods. While many have seen the recent economic situation in Europe as one of doom and gloom, I see opportunities.

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"I see European people as passionate and committed and the talent that we can work with, especially in France, is a huge advantage to us as we build our companies. This is true for AirAsia and especially for Caterham which is now investing significant sums of money in our 50/50 roadcar joint venture with Renault.

"This is creating jobs in Dieppe, helping resurrect Alpine, a famous French brand, and bringing further prosperity to the French car industry - something, like aviation, France leads the world in.

"As the group CEO of AirAsia and co-chairman of Caterham Group, I am proud that we are positively contributing both directly and indirectly towards many peoples' lives in France and across the world. This is great motivation for me to continue to steer both Caterham Group and AirAsia to greater heights, and once again, I am grateful for this incredible honour."

Fernandes was previously conferred the Officier of the Legion d'Honneur award by the French Government in 2010.