Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to describe the development and evaluate the competitive strategy of Emirate Airlines. Design/methodology/approach – The paper outlines Emirates' history and discusses the factors that have contributed to its remarkable record of profitable growth. Findings – How many state‐owned enterprises do you know that grow their business every year and consistently make a profit? Or, for that matter, that win awards for their customer service? One example of this unusual species is Emirate Airlines – known as “Emirates”. In an industry suffering from high and rising fuel costs, economic recession and fierce price competition, this is indeed an achievement. How do they do it? Some have accused Emirates of unfair competition; the airline naturally denies this, arguing that its success results from superior competitive strategy. What, then, are the factors that contribute to the remarkable performance of Emirate Airlines? Practical implications – The paper draws attention to the airline's focus on high‐quality product differentiation, other factors affecting its competitive success and the reactions of rival airlines. Social implications – The paper highlights the multicultural nature of Emirates' workforce and its reliance on expatriates to run the business. Originality/value – The paper provides an insight into the structural and competitive considerations that have allowed Emirates to become one of the world's largest and most successful airlines.
Strategic Direction – Emerald Publishing
Published: Feb 10, 2012
Keywords: Competitive advantage; Airline industry; Product differentiation; Service quality; Financial performance; Dubai
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