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The exceptional performance strategies of Emirate Airlines

Sundaram Nataraja (Department of Marketing, College of Business Administration, King Saud University, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia)
Abdulrahman Al‐Aali (Department of Management, College of Business Administration, King Saud University, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia)

Competitiveness Review

ISSN: 1059-5422

Article publication date: 4 October 2011




The purpose of this paper is to investigate the strategies and competitive advantages of Emirate Airlines that have led to exceptional performance while the overall airline industry globally has faced multibillion‐dollar losses in 2009.


The authors' professional experience, extensive literature review, and personal communications with selected personnel of Emirate Airlines on the subject provided the foundation for this research.


As the global business environment becomes increasingly competitive, the airline industry has also had to respond to the current business scenario, while facing devastating falling demands, shattered consumer confidence, and collapsing yields. However, in 2009, Emirate Airlines reported phenomenal growth and astounding profits while their rivals faced agonizing losses. This paper explores and examines the competitive advantage of Emirate Airlines. The major finding is that the formulation and implementation of appropriate strategies has led to the exceptional performance, profitability, and success of Emirate Airlines.

Practical implications

The competitive strategies – such as operational strategies, generic strategies, intensive strategies, and diversification strategies – can be helpful for firms to gain a competitive advantage over their rivals. Also, the ability to leverage, innovate, and pioneer new ideas, as well as a visionary management team, are essential for exceptional performance of an organization.


The paper provides a model for strategically managing the performance of an aspiring firm, even though the entire industry is facing distressing circumstances.



Nataraja, S. and Al‐Aali, A. (2011), "The exceptional performance strategies of Emirate Airlines", Competitiveness Review, Vol. 21 No. 5, pp. 471-486.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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