Emirates Airlines: Strategy Formulation, Execution, and Governance

How Emirates formulated their corporate strategy in the beginning and how often they re-evaluate

The airline industry is highly competitive all over the word. To survive the tough operating environment, Emirates depends upon carefully formulated strategies that it implements under different circumstances. The formulation of the company’s strategies is broad and comprehensive. It involves analyzing the situation from which Emirates chooses the most fitting course of action to meet the company objectives and vision. At the initial stage, of strategy formulation, the long-term goals that need to be realized are set out. The aims form the target that the company strategy seeks to achieve. In the process of setting out the objectives, the company also indicates the quantitative targets for some goals (Puranam and Vanneste, 2017). The targets form the basis upon which Emirates can be able to compare its performance over a period of time, so as to assess the impact that might result out of different operating divisions. The strategies are then established based on how resources are to be deployed in order to attain the desired outcome.

The process of formulating the strategies also encompasses an assessment of the overall operating environment. Emirates strategies are formulated based on its competitive position in the airline industry. The process involves undertaking a quantitative and qualitative evaluation of the company’s existing service line. The review is meant to ensure that important elements for competitive triumph in the industry can be revealed.

The process also ensures the company’s management can pinpoint their particular strengths and weaknesses along with the competitors’ strengths and weaknesses. Strategy formulation is supported by the development of specific departmental targets that support the overall objective of the company. In order to assess the variation of the actual versus the standard performance, a performance analysis is conducted (Puranam and Vanneste, 2017). Ultimately, the company evaluates the different alternatives arising out of the process which will enable it to bridge any variation that is observed. The best strategy is then selected out of the competing options.

Corporate, business segment, functional area, and operating strategies

Emirates has survived tough competition in the airline industry due to its extremely attractive business model. The company has in place all-encompassing business strategies, which have been pivotal in propelling the company to become the fastest-growing international airline. The success is widely credited to Emirates’ responsiveness to important strategic detail, and has bloomed through competition, in spite of by being owned by the government (Emirates, n.d.). The success is founded on the broad strategies that cut across the overall company objective, as well as the different business segments and functional areas.

Top among the strategies is implementing the upmost quality control measures. By focusing on the best quality, the company has been able to create and maintain ultramodern fleet. It also has been attentive to the customers in every facet of the business whereby all activities are conducted with strict adherence to the highest standards. Furthermore, the company has been able to minimize accidents by ensuring the company’s staff get hold of the best and extensive training programs. The company has also been extensively involved in developing important software in the airline industry. Through this domain, Emirates has created an admirable business portfolio in the industry (Emirates, n.d.). The company has also been able to be involved in activities that promote tourism including resort and hotel development in Dubai, therefore fuelling more growth for the company.

Mission, Vision, and Core Values

The mission can be described as the path that the business desires to follow so as to realize its objectives. It is a broader statement that explains the current undertakings that are to be conducted in order to achieve the vision. The vision defines the exact ultimate position where the business desires to be; it defines the definitive expectation of the business. A vision statement supports the goals of the business by detailing what is to be realized. Puranam and Vanneste (2017) states that the vision gives purpose to the existence of the business. The vision and the mission statements are designed to respond to questions pertaining to what we value, who we are, and where we are going. The mission and vision statements ensure effective running of the business by being aligned to the overall goals and objectives.

The vision for Emirates is to be the best and most innovative airline company with a global coverage. The company’s mission entails broad strategies aimed at propelling the company in realizing its vision. Emirates seeks to build an enviable airline business in the world by providing services at the highest standards in the industry (Emirates, n.d.). The company aims to offer the best client service and maintain positive growth trends by investing in the best technologies. It also desires to have zero accident events supported by the best and the most competitive labor force.

The company’s mission and vision are supported by core values that guide the conduct of its operations. These include:

  • Customer satisfaction: Emirates seeks to attend to the specific needs of its customers by maintaining a customer-focused approach at all times as part of the company’s culture.
  • Leadership: The Company seeks to work through good management and leadership for continuing success. Emirates has democratic leadership which is made up of people who have the skills and the capacity to stimulate and influence the activities to achieve the company goals.
  • Emotional appeal: Emirates considers the emotions as a key factor of being the number one customer’s choice. The emotional appeal is delivered through advertising campaign upon which every aspect of the brand is called to appeal to the customers.
  • Reliability. Emirates aims to offer dependable services through on-time delivery, having the best fleet with attractive features, ensuring accidents are reduced to almost zero to guarantee safety, and minimum of loss luggage.
  • Innovativeness: Emirates desires to attend to customer needs in the most innovative way by offering the most modern in-flight services. The approach aims to give customers a fascinating experience in their flight. The Company is constantly discovering and implementing fresh ideas to engender services, products, and processes in an effective and dynamic way not only for the company, but also to the clientele.
  • Community engagement: Emirates seeks to support various activities in the community that it serves. It places prominence in social responsibility and corporate citizenship through which it improves the brand awareness. Emirates has a very wide social media presence, donations, charity work, sponsorships, celebrity endorsement, and partnerships.

Short and Long-term objectives

Emirates has experienced tremendous growth since its inception in 1984. The initial objective of the airline was to link Dubai to the west and east having been neglected by the established Gulf Air. The leaders in Dubai sought to make it a center where people from all over the world would stop over and shop. The airline was also intended to open up the region for investment and tourism activities. These ambitious objectives were all connected to the Emirates overall strategy of getting as many people onto their airplanes as possible in the shortest time (Emirates, n.d.). By the early 1990s, the company had gained some holding in the industry leading it to expand its operations into different global locations including Paris, London, and Melbourne.

The Company has continued to enjoy much success and now seeks to be the leading global carrier and Airline Company of choice. Emirates still aims to be the center of promoting Dubai as the safest, most modern, and technologically advanced city in the world. The objective is based on the overall aim of expanding the company’s reach to a bigger share of the market. In addition, Emirates desires to offer the best management, fleet, and airline products and services that are based on safety and good reputation.

To realize this, the company operates some of the best planes that constitute both airbuses and Boeings and airbuses. The company to date operates 137 airplanes that cover over 82 countries (Emirates, n.d.). The company flies hundreds of flights every week from the Dubai International Airport to numerous global destinations numbering over 155 airports (Emirates, n.d.). Moreover, the company operates non-stop long-haul flights to far off destinations in the United States such as San Francisco, Houston, Los Angeles and Sao Paulo in Brazil. The company handles cargo through the Emirates SkyCargo.

Balanced Scorecard

The balanced scorecard entails a broad process integrating and aligning strategy and operations. The approach helps airline to implement different strategies or manage their operations through an all-embracing management system for integrating and aligning dynamic processes. Through this process, the management can understand the link between activities and take the systems approach rather than the local optimization style (Puranam and Vanneste, 2017). Therefore, it helps the company to interpret, connect, and measure its strategies. Main areas of concern for Emirates Airline include:

  • Finance.
  • Customer service.
  • Internal business structure.
  • Innovation and learning.

How they measure their progress in the objectives

It is important for Emirates to measure their performance against the set objectives. The company evaluates its performance across different aspects mainly be engaging performance measurement partners to make sure that they obtain a balanced performance evaluation. The company’s management sets the objectives to guarantee a common vision of how it collaborates with partners to influence change and at the same time ensure that they are able to return a profit (Puranam and Vanneste, 2017). Performance is evaluated across different financial and non-financial parameters that are directly linked to the company’s business strategy.

Some of the company’s partners include Wavetec and GE Aviation. They help to certify better performance that is beneficial to all the stakeholders. Wavetec has been instrumental in managing the flow of customers in the airline’s different locations across the globe. The company provides a queue management solution that comprises a full end-to-end solution that expedites the management of all customer needs. Moreover, through the Tailored Arrivals approach, the company would simplify the up-linking of the aircraft en-route with air travel control (Emirates, n.d.). The aim is to have an uninterrupted descent of the airplane through which saving on gasoline and emissions can be realized.

Corporate Governance

Corporate Governance is the set of procedures, guidelines and regulations that influence the manner in which a company is managed. Emirates Airlines is a subsidiary of the Emirates Group that is wholly owned by the Government of Dubai. At the helm of the company’s management is His Highness Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, who serves as the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of both the Emirates Airlines and Emirates Group. The Chairman and CEO has served under the position from the time when the airline commenced it operations in 1985. He is the founding member of the airline, which he has helped to build from scratch to the company it is today.

The company commenced operations with two aircrafts that it leased from Gulf Air that connected two destinations from Dubai. However, today the company boasts the largest fleet of both Airbus and Boeing plant numbering over 270. The company connects to over 155 different destinations. The company also operates the largest air services all over the word through dnata. According to Emirates (n.d.), Dnata serves 127 airports in 85 countries across 6 continents by providing flight catering services, cargo, and ground handling services.

Sir Tim Clark serves as the President of Emirates Airline. He is also a founding member of the airline starting off as the Head of Airline Planning in 1985 before being promoted to be President in 2003. Through his vast experience in the airline industry, he has helped to build Emirates from its humble beginnings to the present-day conglomerate. Adel Ahmad Al Redha is the current Chief Operating Officer (COO) of Emirates Airline. He has served the airline under different capacities for over 33 years since 1988 (Emirates, n.d.). Over the period he has gained vast experience in the company’s operations and logistics including flight operations, engineering and maintenance, network operations airport services, service delivery (inflight entertainment and cabin interiors), and procurement of aircrafts. He was appointed COO in 2013.

The current Chief Commercial Officer (CCO) of Emirates Airline is Adnan Kazim. Since joining the airline in 1992, he has progressed through different capacities including being the Senior Vice President Africa, the Gulf, Middle East, and Iran. His mandate includes handling the company’s Retail and Contact Centers, e-Commerce, Revenue Optimization, Strategic Planning, Emirates SkyCargo, and the Emirates Skywards loyalty programme. Abdulaziz Al Ali serves as the company’s Executive Vice President, Human Resources.

He has served the airline in different capacities for over 35 years since 1986 before being promoted to the current role in 2003 (Emirates, n.d.). He is tasked with managing the airline’s human resources strategy and management including hiring and retention, and training and development. Prior, he served as the Director Human Resources and Head of Human Resources. Ali Mubarak Al Soori serves as the current Executive Vice President – Chairman’s Office, Facilities/Projects Management (Emirates, n.d.). He also joined the company in 1986. Besides, the company’s operations in different locations are managed by regional commercial officers. Some of the regions include Taiwan, Japan, Bangladesh, West Africa, South Africa, East Africa, and the Philippines.


Emirates. (n.d.). About us | Emirates. Global. Web.

Puranam, P. and Vanneste, B. (2017). Corporate strategy: Tools for analysis and decision-making. Cambridge University Press.

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