Emirates Airlines Company Strategies and Standards


Emirates Airlines is an organization that offers transport services in the airline industry. The company was established in 1985 by the government of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and has experienced impressive economic growth over the years, growing from a leased fleet of two aircrafts to a large fleet of aircrafts operating all over the world today (Cannegieter, n.d). The company has signed several agreements with a number of airlines around the world including the British Airways, the Japan airlines, among several others. In addition to that, the company has a 40% share of the Air Lanka and a 10 year management agreement with the SriLankan airlines, a typical example of impressive growth and effective management by the management of the Emirates Airlines company. That further led the organization to register impressive growth within the company. Impressive economic performance and growth over the years it has been in operation are reflected in the awards the company won over the years.

Typically, the company has won 250 awards of excellence since its establishment in 1985. The awards have come due to the contributions by aircraft personnel and management at driving the organization from one level of performance to another in offering services to clients. Despite registering impressive growth, the company further endeavored to restructure and incorporate overhauls to its operations.

Thus, the overhauls reflected cost effective strategies to reduce costs and other wastes to the minimal. These cost effective strategies incorporated new management teams with new and proactive approaches to management, introduction, and integration of computing technologies to execute daily the company’s day-to-day activities, appraising the airline’s network, and continuous enhancements of products offering by the company to the customers. However, the current study by Cannegieter (n.d) shows some knowledge gap in the activities that occur daily in the airport making the Emirates airlines one of the most profitable in the world. Typically, that should also focus on the quality issues associated with running the organization as discussed in the following section.

Areas That Need Improvement

Compliance to ISO 9001 Standards

One area that the organization needs to improve on is associated with ISO standards. ISO 9001 is a quality-controlling standard that organizations subscribe to when strategizing to reap the benefits that accrue from implementing quality standards in the provision of services. Among the benefits organizations project to gain in quality improvements outlined in ISO standards are cost savings. Cost is the driving force that enhances productivity at all levels of a company’s operations.

Research shows that the Emirates Airlines has fallen short of including the concept of total quality management systems, associated quality documentations, management failure as a responsibility, decline in the quality of services offered by employee, and overall organizational responsibilities that focus on total quality management and implementation within the company. Despite the success rates registered by the Emirates Company, failure to formulate total quality management policies to ensure that Emirates Airlines comply with total quality management standards and policies constitute areas to improve.

Emirates airlines has failed to design and integrate total quality management frameworks into the companies, and failure to integrate the concept of total quality management in designing total quality management objectives into running the organization is another area to consider. In addition to that, Emirates Airlines failed to identify and integrate the concept of total quality management in resource management and allocation, in process management, and in monitoring organizational tasks and processes.

On the other hand, the organization has failed to consider measurements in the analysis, product, and service improvements. However, there is need to focus on employee related health issues that the organization requires improvements as discussed in the following section.

Compliance to Occupational Health Standards

This part discusses employee health related problems Emirates Airlines faced when registering with ISO discussed below.

Emirates Airlines failed to ensure a secure and operational environment that reflects quality management in the employee and the overall organization in general. One of the standards that the company did not meet is the OHSAS 18001 that emphasizes on the need to implement occupational health and the safety of the employee at work. In addition to that, employee health is of utmost importance as a vital component and lack of total quality management definition and understanding that should be integral to the activities and operations of the company. The organization has further not emphasized on the importance of quality and total quality management as a universal tool to achieve standards to the level of a healthy environment and quality standards to subscribe to the respective ISO standards. In addition to that, the responsibility for quality is viewed as the responsibility of one specific department instead of viewing it from the overall organizational perspective.

Evidence for the failure to subscribe to the standard relates to the frequency with which employee leave the workplace due to injuries sustained at the workpace. The standard recognizes the fact that the employee health and well being to be of paramount importance in the sustainability of the organization of this kind. On the other hand, other failures that are not recognized by the company include the aspects of environmental management as discussed below.

Environmental Management Standards

This section discusses another area of improvement by the Emirates Airlines when registering with ISO in relation to the environment related activities based on the ISO 14001 certificate standard.

The environment where employees operate and the general environment in general are addressed by the ISO 14001 certificate. In this certificate, environmental controls are identified and companies that subscribe to this standard have to ensure their operations are ISO 14001 certified. There is no conscious effort within Emirates Airlines to ensure quality total quality management in the light of controlling the company’s activities to ensure they add value to the environment instead of being destructive to the environment.

The environmental compliance standards form part of the requirements for meeting ISO certified standards. It is worth noting that a company must operate in a sustainable environment for its activities to remain sustained. That forms part of Emirates Airlines’s corporate social responsibility. Under this regulation, Emirates Airlines’s activities should reflect concerted efforts and policies to protect the environment to protect and conserved the environment. Another area of improvement faced by Emirates Airlines in registering with ISO requirements is its failure to meet the standard requirements for ISO 9001.

This standard is the driving force for the company that wants to incorporate a quality management system into its operations. One problem that is faced by Emirates Airlines incorporating this standard into company operations and the failure to identify gaps in its operations specifically targeting requirements for registering with these bodies. Emirates Airlines has not carried a gap analysis for its processes and needs to incorporate a quality gap analysis in order identify gaps that exist in its service provisions to ensure the services comply with quality standards. Perhaps it could be necessary to identify a gap analysis that exists within Emirates Airlines to provide a detailed view of their failure to incorporate the strategy in total quality management that could make the company more compliant in registering with standard organizations.

The gap analysis is a typical tool used to identify the shortfalls inherent in Emirates Airlines that acts as a source of problems for registering with quality standard organizations. It is important at this point to examine in detail underlying ISO quality principles, which include customer focus, leadership, people involvements, process approaches to quality management, a system approach to total quality management and implementation, the continual quality improvement approaches, and decision-based facts.

Customer Focus Issues

Total quality management focuses on the customer. This part discusses in detail the whole concept of total quality management that is focused on the customer.

Research shows that in the UAE, the Emirates Airlines management has failed to identify and focus their activities and services based on customer needs that lead to customer satisfaction. This area mainly focuses at low product quality and services provision to customer, which fail to meet customer needs and expectations. It is important to note that total quality management is a concept tailored towards making the company meets its quality expectations in providing services and products to customers. In the event that these expectations are addressed inappropriately, the company is susceptible to fail in meeting requirements necessary to allow it ISO registration. In addition to that, the organization has failed in the area of meeting customer requirements, which form the basic compliance factor toward ISO certification.

Research shows that most Emirates Airlines employees do not perform to exceed customer expectations as one of the key elements in total quality management. On the other hand, there are no concerted efforts to drive Emirates Airlines to focus on and exceed customer expectations in the provision of services and products to customer expectations (Cannegieter, n.d). Typically, the findings indicate that the Emirates Airlines leadership has had total quality management problems in the past denying the organization the opportunity for ISO certification, as discussed in the following section.

Leadership problem Issues

Leadership is a compelling tool that offers direction in achieving total quality management. This part discusses management as one of the areas where improvement is required within the Emirates Airlines to meet ISO quality standards..

Leaders play the critical role of establishing the unity of purpose for organizational employees and the whole working at Emirates Airlines. However, a consistent problem with leadership at the Emirates Airlines by showing lack of lack of clear goals, objectives, and lack of a strategic vision. It becomes a big problem for the company especially in its pursuit for ISO certification. In addition to that, leaders have not endeavored to create an environment conducive for employees to pursue efficiently organizational goals and objectives. Typically, if the organizational leadership establishes well defined organizational policies to pursue organizational objectives, then, the probability of the Emirates Airlines becoming a role model and getting ISO certified remain high. That is also true if the company demonstrates a sense of corporate social responsibility in its pursuits of total quality management. That is also true if the company incorporates the all-inclusive spirit in total quality management as discussed below.

Involvement of Others

This section discusses the role of others play as one area requiring improvements.

One of the areas that Emirates Airlines requires improvements to meet quality international standards organization (ISO) is the failure to involve others is total quality management and failure to incorporate the process of integrating the quality framework into the company operations and services. Typically, decision-making is done at the top-level hierarchy of the organization without due consideration of the views of others and the impact of these decisions may have on the environment and operations of the company on the provision of quality services to the customer..

In this case, Emirates Airlines has not put into full use and exploited the skills, abilities, and experience of its workforce, thus making it experience unprecedented problems in registering with ISO (Crosby, 1984).

The next problem is the failure of Emirates Airlines to use the process approach to manage their activities. Successful companies use this approach to ensure their activities measure up to standard requirements to pass the requirements outlined under the ISO standard. When a company integrates the process approach into their activities, the quality of services, environmental preservation, and efficient utilization of resources are optimized. Wastes that lead to the destruction of the environment are avoided. It Is the incorporation of cooperate social responsibility of the company. In addition to that, the company utilizes resources optimally leading to minimal losses and minimal impact of the disposal of wastes from the usage of the environment. Emirates Airlines has inherently failed to reflect a system approach in the process of service and product provision by the company has no strategic methods in place to ensure continual improvements in product and services quality.

Area of Gap Analysis

At Emirates Airlines, a number of problems specific to the company’s services provision identified include the gap between company policies, operations, and customer expectations. A close study and analysis of Emirates Airlines shows that the company has not integrated a good communication plan in the context of external services provision and processes. Services provisions remain the fundamental in the operations of Emirates Airlines.

Gaps model of service quality.
Figure 1: Gaps model of service quality. Source: Journal of Service Marketing.

The model indicates the existence of a gap between customer expectations and perceived services. All the departments are required to identify quality gaps that exist between them and pay close attention to customer needs in terms of the services offered by the company when measured against established quality standards. Thus, a good communication link should exist between the customer driven service designs, standards, company perceptions, and consumer expectations.

One realizes that the service quality model used by the company has failed to focus on services to bear the characteristics of reliability, assurance, reliability, tangibleness, empathy, and responsiveness. Thus, there is the need to improve the areas highlighted above based on quality improvements discussed in the following section.

Similarity/Differences with PDCA

To ensure Emirates Airlines maintains its lead and trend in leadership in the provision of services in the airlines industry, and offers quality focused services, it is important to improve quality in compliance with ISO quality standards specifically in occupational health, and environmental management standards. The PDCA model is characterised by the plan-do-check-action steps. On the other hand, the proposed model constitutes six sigma steps that include the plan-do-check-action variants of the PDCA model by focusing on the six-sigma steps variants.

Typically, environmental related standards draw on customer focus, leadership, involvement of others in decision-making, and identification of quality gaps in the provision of services in the Emirates Airlines Company. However, the proposed approach bears similarities and differences with the PDCA model.

To achieve total quality, the Emirates Airlines Company should integrate the whole concept of the six-sigma steps in the pursuit of organizational goals and objectives. The six-sigma steps are cross-functional, spanning organizational employees in the management hierarchy of the Airlines Company. The six-sigma steps characterization includes the definition of processes within the airline industry that require improvements.

On the other hand, the PDCA model in the case study uses the planning as the initial stage in identifying problem areas needing improvements. Thus, a similarity between the case study and the Emirates case are in the definition and plan phases. In addition to that, Y focuses on customer needs and satisfaction, a similar approach identified in the six-sigma steps to employ in the delivery of services in the Emirates Airlines Company. Typically, definition as the first sigma step focuses on customer needs, expectations, and continuous evaluations of the feedbacks from the organization about the quality of services delivered.

However, the proposed model draws directly from Demming’s quality concepts. On the other hand, the second step requires clear documentation of the processes that need improvements to identify the scope of improvements required in the process. On the other hand, the third sigma step is incorporated by identifying performance metrics used of measure employee and organizational performance against established standards and organizational goals. Typical, it is important to establish a comparative analysis of the changes in performance with current and past performance trends. Once the comparisons are done and ideas have been developed, ideas are tested, followed by the process of implementing the ideas and evaluating the quality impact the these ideas have had on the organization.

The concept of total quality management across the whole organization is integrated through the six-sigma steps in the passion and pursuit of excellence. Each of the six-sigma steps implementation across the organization is unique across every department of the organization with the whole objective of achieving total quality to the satisfaction of the customer. That differs with the proposed PDCA approach of implanting quality (Tang, 2008).

At the heart of the six-sigma steps, the management of Emirates Airlines Company should undertake a process of identifying what customers need most and tailor strategic methods to address the identified customer needs. On the other hand, the PDCA model draws on the structure that emphasizes on the plan-do-check-act phases, while the proposed model incorporates the universal six-sigma steps without many modifications, except to address organizational needs and incorporation of the plan-do-check-act concept.

Typically, compliance with ISO standards is attainable by developing an occupational health plan that focuses on employee health and complies with health ISO health standard requirements. Thus, quality standards are first set having measurable attributes. On the other hand, measurable attributes identified in the case study include information security polices, a single department that handles information security related to the organization, system approaches of identifying and controlling organizational assets, security audits, and classified items.

On the other hand, the prosed model will endeavor to provide approaches of maintaining quality against internationally established ISO quality standards, and establish a strong approach for identifying causes of poor quality standards negating the ability of the organization to conform to ISO standards in the areas of occupational health and environmental management. Each of the features of quality to include that serves as benchmarks for correcting quality include performance in the provision of services by the employees. Quality features to incorporate include quick provision of services, ease of access to the services provides and response from customer complaints, conformance to customer expectations in terms of quality, and ensure safe provision of services like safety of customer luggage.

In addition to that, the plan of the PDCA model in the case study corresponds in the proposed model with parameters that have a direct impact on quality. Typically, the speeds with which customer complaints are handled are measured. Results from these calculations lead the management to determine the average waiting time for any customer. They set to educate respective employees on the need to reduce the waiting time of the customer by incorporating total quality strategies in the provision of services. The results might be desirable. After possible causes of a slow network, customer dissatisfaction, and the quality of services provided by the employees, the company strategizes to identify possible avenues for improvements, with the manager and organizational employee making the sigma steps a cross functional tool in achieving total quality management (Tang, 2008).

On the other hand, the do phase in the case study comprises six stages while the current Emirates case comprises the use of a balanced score card and tool to implement quality. Therefore, to achieve the quality component, the organization should endeavour to use quality tools such as the balanced scorecard. A balanced scorecard enables organizational employees to check any variations from the organization’s target plans.

These includes sustained customer base and sustained revenue generation. In addition to that, employees are held responsible for the quality of work one does and the overall contribution of their skills to the provision of quality to the organization. A number of techniques are used in the process to ensure continuous quality improvements includes organization is brainstorming. Each employee is encouraged to generate ideas and issue that affect the performance of the organization in the pursuit of organizational total quality improvement objectives.

Service deliveries are made reliable to avoid scenes where customers make after service requests for a service that should have been provided at the point of offering the service. In addition, the assurance in word and deed to the customer of product and service delivery and quality to inspires confidence in them. The employees should appropriately deliver tangibles are delivered at the rightful time. Empathy should be emphasized upon as the cornerstone in services provisions within the organization, and responsiveness should be firmly integrated in day-to-day business transactions organizational activities.

To remain in the market and gain a strong market position, and continuously impress upon itself the standards established under the international standards organization (ISO), the management of the company should take corrective actions by responding to customer needs in a timely manner. Service provision employees should be active listeners, and the organization should provide genuine services. Justice and fairness should be the foundation in dealing with customer complaints. It is the responsibility of management to conduct an analysis of the gap between services provided and customer needs and put measures to bridge them.

In addition, the company should integrate vertical and horizontal communication to enhance understanding and facilitate service delivery. The company should tailor its services for reliability, assurance, reliability, tangibles, empathy, and responsiveness. Having considered in detail the gap model in relation to problems that Emirates Airlines and other companies face in registering in registering with ISO, the following discussion focuses on problems related to the workforce, working hours, freedom, and other factors. However, there is need to evaluate the outcomes experienced by implementing the proposed model. Thus, a similarity occurs between the evaluation phase and the check phase of the case study.

Creating the Plan-DO-Act-Check phases

A typical area selected for the creation of the plan-do-check-act phases is the quality implementation approach by the management of Emirates Airlines Company illustrated in the conceptual framework in diagram 1 below.

Plan Do Check Action
ISO standards Definition phase This phase includes establishing customer focused services, Leadership, people involvement, process improvements, organization-wide quality improvement, continuous quality improvements, and decision based-facts. Measure
Balanced score card
Call organizational meetings to evaluate compliance with ISO quality standard requirements.
Measure and analyze the processes. Strategize to improve to control quality.
Occupational Health standards Examining for Compliance to international health standard requirements outlined in ISO.
Environmental health standards Conformance to principles quality gap analysis, and cooperate social responsibilities.

Key Learning Points

Key leaning points from the above study include:

  1. Emirates Airlines is an organization that has experienced exponential business growth but there in need to sustain the quality of services and growth of the company through the implantation of quality standards that factors the PDCA model and six sigma steps.
  2. Emirates Airlines has failed to factor issues related to international standards to measure its services to international ISO quality standards.
  3. Specialized areas to define or plan for include ISO standards compliance, occupational health standards, and environmental health standards whose associated principles include customer focus, leadership, other people’s involvement in decision making, and quality gaps analysis.
  4. These areas require that processes and policies be defined, a step that corresponds with the planning phase of the PDCA model, measurements based on a balanced score card, and analysis of findings with an equivalent of the “do” phase in the PDCA model. The next phase, the check phase also corresponds with the analysis and improvement phase of the PDCA model identified in the case study, the control which corresponds with the check phase in the case study. The act phase, on the other hand, corresponds with the implementation and evaluation phases of the PDCA model in the case study.
  5. The similarity between the six quality sigma steps and PDCA quality implementation model that includes the plan-do-check-act are illustrated in the conceptual model illustrated in fig 1 above.
  6. There are similarities between the case study model and the proposed model.However, the proposed model provides a framework for further quality improvements.


Cannegieter, R. (n.d). Emirates Airlines ‘Marhaba’ Retrievd, Aerlines Magazine e-zine edition, Issue 27. Web.

Crosby, P. (1984). Quality Without Tears: The Art of Hassle-Free Management. New York: McGraw-Hill. Web.

Tang, J. (2008). The Implementation of Deming’s System Model to improve Security Management: A case study. International Journal of Management; 25, 1. Web.