Emirates Airlines Company Total Quality Management

Background Information

Emirates Airlines was established in 1985, and it started offering services to the public in October 1985 with the support of the Sheikh of the United Arabs Emirates. The foundation and the establishment of the airline were conducted by the Dubai government in conjunction with the Pakistan International Airlines (PIA). In the agreement, the PIA provided a lease of 737 and A300. The first flight destinations were established in Bombay and Delhi, both in India. The next destination was set up in Dhaka, Colombo, and Cairo, and this was around the year 1986 (Bamber, 2009).

During late 1986 and early 1987, other destinations were set up in London, Frankfurt, and Istanbul. Emirates Airlines was so rapid and rampant in that in the year1992, the company increased its flight services to other destinations; for instance, Djakarta, Paris, Rome, and Zurich. Presently, Emirates Airlines has been able to capture the greater part of the UAE, where it is able to offer a variety of services on an international, regional, domestic, passenger, and cargo services. According to the present statistics, Emirates has the capability of offering airline services to a total of 53 countries and is also capable of providing services to 75 destinations. Some of the countries that are lucky to receive Emirates Airline services include countries from the Middle East, Far East, Europe, Australia, and Africa, among others (Al-Abed, 2003).

As the company increased its flight services in various countries and destinations, it also improved its profit margin. In almost all cases, there was a record of an increase in profit each and every year. For instance, in the year 2003-2004, the company recorded a net profit of US $ 429 Million for the whole financial year. This was a tremendous improvement over the past years. The gross revenue had also improved. The total carrying capacity of the airline had also increased by a great range more than the previous years.

Alongside this drastic improvement in the entire company, because of the positive shift realized from the revenues realized within the company, Emirates Airlines also decided to increase its fleets to a total of 63 aircraft. Presently, the aircraft stands at 67, including five freighters. These freighters are capable of serving more than 75 destinations in 53 countries. With such a radical increase, Emirates Airlines anticipates that such a great expansion will continue as long as the company provides efficient services to its clients. Such a remarkable growth has come to be, in relation to a great improvement noted in the unit cost over the previous years (Medlik, 2003).

Additionally, in comparison to the previous years, 1999-2000 recorded positive results over the cost that was available in Tonne kilometer. Emirates Airlines also forms part of the Emirates group. The group comprises of Emirates Airlines, Emirates Engineering, and a cargo division among others. Over the past few years, most of the airlines have been having difficulties in the management, and in all these, it’s only Emirates Airlines that hardly felt the economic hardships and aviation breakdown. This is because Emirates has always been in support of the marketing strategies that are embraced by Dubai as a tourist destination besides being operating as an appealing tax-free shopping (Denton, 2000).

Case Study: The Emirates Group

The following case study analyzes the operations and the total quality management that the Emirates have embraced over the past and the present time. According to this case study, the Emirates Group holds an award-winning fleet of 92 aircraft, a global cargo division, complete destination management, a leisure division, a global ground handler, and an airline IT developer. All the mentioned achievements and others have played a key role in developing Dubai into a major business and tourism center. In the year 2006, the Emirates group announced a record of having accumulated a total net profit of AED 2.8 billion for that financial year that ended in 2006.

The total revenue that had been accumulated by then increased by 27% to AED 24.2 billion in comparison to the previous year, which recorded a total of AED 19.2 billion. In its operation, Emirates Airline Group is guided by certain core principles, which range from offering excellent services, checking on the quality of the products and services offered, being innovative, and above all, maintaining the financial strength of the company. In other words, the Emirates Group is devoted to providing a high standard of client services, which ought to be satisfactory, reliable, and efficient. To illuminate some light on it, the Group is committed to providing its customers with an internationally prominent and proficient an award-winning service.

In its debut on 25th October 1985, Emirates Airlines developed to be a global airline of the UAE, which is based in Dubai. It has emerged to be an international significant air travel and tourism corporation in a very short period of time. At the present time, Emirates Airlines is able to make to 83 destinations in a total of 57 countries in the global world. This is a service that is swiftly increasing. Surprisingly, Emirates Airlines recorded a superfluous profit in the 2005-2006 Financial year. During this period, it was able to record a carriage capacity of over 12.5 million passengers and one million tons of cargo. Throughout its operations, Emirates Airlines had always recorded a positive shift except only during the second year when it started its operation. To conclude on to the Past and Present History on Emirates Airline, it is remarkable that the company works under two basic features – an incessant explosive growth and a steady focus on providing high-quality services (Medlik, 2003).

Total Quality Management in Emirates

The operations of any given company are based on the need to respond to the needs of the customer. Reactions to these needs are further accompanied by the inclusion of a feature in the product provided to meet the expectations of the consumer. Quality of any particular good or service is tailored towards satisfying the consumer. The level of delight that a consumer derives from the consumption of a commodity is directly comparable to the quality of that commodity. Features of quality include, but not limited to, affordability, availability, reliability, delivery, and maintainability.

The concept of total quality emerges from the total value that is delivered to the customers. Management that is meant to maximize value delivery to the customers is, therefore, essential to the operations of the firm. In this regard, Total Quality Management (TQM) focuses on three aspects, namely: quality or return, quality of goods and services, and quality of life. Emirates Airline employs these three aspects to achieve its entire TQM objective that is further meant to satisfy its customers’ needs, shareholders’ wealth as well the needs of the people based in the Organization. TQM can therefore be defined as an approach to management that is centrally based on quality, and involves the participation of all members inside and outside the organization, aiming to achieve long term success through satisfying the customers and consequently improving the welfare of the organization members and the general society (Gitlow et al., 2004).

Certification and Awards

Emirates Airline operations have followed the right licensing procedures over the years. The need to undertake quality management has been significant to the operations of the company. The Emirates Airport Services became certified to ISO 9001:2000 standards in the year 2004. Besides meeting international standards of operation, this company has received significant rewards in the line of its operations. Emirates Airline has received significant awards for excellence, with over 280 awards being international awards. The Official Airline Guide at one point voted this Airline the best in the world. The awards and consequent certification is a sign of how effective the company is in the implementation of its TQM procedures. Medlik (2003) asserts that ISO certification measures the operations of a particular company to the relative match of the operations to the international standards.

Employee Development

TQM takes on board all participants in the organization – from the customers, workers, management, and the general society. TQM through development of the employees focuses on the right workforce to undertake the required duties and responsibilities. Without the right workforce, the operation ability of the company would be rendered void. Consequently, the credit of the good job done by the employees is not directed neither to the management nor to the customer, but to the employees themselves. The benefits of the best they do should accompany their welfare inside and outside the company (Gitlow, et al, 2004).

Employees can be described as the heart and soul of the Emirates Airline. For this reason, rewarding, recognizing and training the employees is fundamental in the pursuit of undertaking TQM. Performance programs tailored towards producing the very best in the employees’ abilities and capacities to work are means through which TQM can be achieved. This Airline handles high profile training activities for all its employees to help get the best performance from them and further assist them in developing their potentials in their careers. The Airline also incorporates performance management that coach and guide the employees in developing their individual needs, alongside those of the company.

Quality Driven Programmes

Emirates TQM success results from sustained quality standards derived from competent and hardworking staff and loyal customers. Quality and consequent excellence concepts are formulated and implemented from within the company and are tailored towards the objective of continuously improved service standards delivery. The motive of a distinctive cultural diversity and the process by which sound quality approaches and best practices of development programmes are incorporated in the company sets the baseline of TQM efficiency and effectiveness in the Emirates Airline.

Quality Driven Programmes in the company has incorporated Staff Suggestion Scheme that is meant to utilize bright ideas of the employees of the Airline. The scheme was introduced in the company in the year 1991 (Al-Abed, 2003). Quality improvement of the Airline has since then overseen creativity and lateral thinking of the employees, which make the company to become a market leader in the Airline business. Innovativeness resulting from this process has been fundamental to the success of the operations of the company. Customer satisfaction has been characteristic of the ideas and opinions of the workers, taking into consideration that these employees are as well the customers of the Airline at some point (Gitlow, et al., 2004).

Running of the Airline’s business has improved through this scheme by the development of product packages that are consequences of the creativity and expertise of the Emirates Airline. This quality driven programmes have overwhelmingly motivated employees and consequently led the company to easily meet the expectations of the customers. This concept covers all required activities that generally constitute the TQM fundamentals (Gitlow, et al., 2004).

TQM Concepts Implementation

Implementation of the TQM concepts in the company focuses on all activities of the Airline. Every step of operation parameter counts in the establishment, formulation and implementation of TQM in the organization. The first and fundamental aspect of consideration in the implementation of these concepts is the commitment of the top management of the Airline. Crucial decisions are made by the top management, and the ability to effectuate such decisions is subject to the approval of the top management. In this regard, the TQM procedural implementation takes the top management as the basis upon which TQM establishment relies on.

Focus on the customer is another motive to consider in the implementation of TQM. The operations of the company are solely based on the interests of the customer, without whom the company has no reason to be in operation. Since customers are fundamental to the operations of the Airline, fact based decision making is crucial subject to the TQM requirements of the company. The welfare of the customers must be addressed at each and every instance of TQM analysis. Customers’ expectations should be addressed by the particular aspect of managing total quality in the company (Denton, 2000)

Processes through which the Airline meets its set organizational goals and objectives should be free of conflicts of interest. This should be avoided inline with continuous improvement procedures. Consequently, the commitment of every personnel in the company should be brought into focus. It is not the commitment of the top management that counts in the achievement of TQM, but the responsibility of each party in the company is accountable for the company’s success. Embracing this fact leaves no hustle in the implementation of TQM concepts.

Challenges in Implementation of TQM

Difficulties in the implementation of these concepts can result at any point of operation in the Airline. Leaders for example may not drive their point home on the constituents of the concepts. This means that they may not give clear directions on the TQM processes thus delaying its actualization. Misunderstanding and ignorance of the competitive positioning of the company may challenge such implementations, where parties to the process may not take their full responsibility to the implementation procedure.

Departmental conflicts are also evident impediments to the success of TQM. This occurs when each department prefers working on its own and therefore performs duties and responsibilities that are only bound to the department. Another challenging aspect of TQM implementation is the confusion that surrounds quality and grade. The difference between the two may result to a stand of, in which one between the two is well suited to TQM. Reactive behavior and the “it’s not my fault” attitude may hinder the realization of TQM success (Gitlow, et al., 2004).

Benefits and Recommendations

TQM encourages management approaches that cut across the departments, allowing cross-functional and innovative improvements that consequently improve on the operations of the company. TQM approaches should be within the scope and the capacity of the company so as to ensure balance of activities and the cost of undertaking such activities. Returns on investments are another important factor that is favored by TQM. High returns on investment signify efficiency in the company.

Effectiveness of policies that the company seeks to establish should be based on the generation of revenues and the profitability of the Airline. TQM further allows the company to exploit developments that are characteristic of other operations of other Airlines in the world. Implementation of TQM allows for inter-organizational collaborations, which consequently lead to the emergence of strategic alliances that oversee the success of the company based on the competitiveness of the company that draw regard from the collaborations and policies that enhance fair competition (Denton, 2000).


Bamber, G. (2009).Up In the Air: How Airlines Can Improve Performance by Engaging Their Employees – Reference, Information and Interdisciplinary Subjects Series, Chicago: Cornell University Press.

Al-Abed, I. (2003). United Arab Emirates Yearbook. 2003, UAE Yearbooks Series. New York: Trident Press.

Medlik, S. (2003). Dictionary of Travel, Tourism and Hospitality (3rd ed.). California: Butterworth-Heinemann.

Denton, J. (2000). Arab Business: the Globalization Imperative. Chicago: Kogan Page Publishers.

Gitlow, H., Oppenheim, R., Oppenheim, A., & Levine, D. (2004). Quality Management McGraw-Hill/Irwin Series Operations and Decision Sciences (3rd ed.). Chicago:McGraw-Hill/Irwin.

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