SWOT Analysis of Emirates: Strengths & Weaknesses 2021

NameEmirates Airlines
HeadquartersGarhoud, Dubai, UAE
CEOAhmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum
Profit-20279AED million
Revenue30,230AED million
CompetitorsSingapore Airlines, Cathay Pacific Airways, Qatar Airways, Etihad, Turkish Airlines. 

Company Overview:

Founded in 1985, Emirate’s airline is an Aviation industry headquartered in Garhoud, Dubai, UAE. It is regarded as one of the largest airlines worldwide due to its hospitality and quality flight experience. Globally, the airline flies to 158 destinations in 85 countries. The company’s current CEO is Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, and it receives competition from Singapore Airlines, SkyWest, Qatar Airways, Etihad, Turkish Airlines (Routes, 2021).

Emirates Strengths 2021:

  • Largest Airline.

    As of 2021, Emirates holds the top rank according to fleet size. Emirates fleet comprises about 250 aircraft, which is 20 fleets more than Qatar Airways (Information Design, 2021). Emirates also holds the fourth rank among the best airlines worldwide due to its excellent service and exceptional offerings of cabins in first-class (Skirka, 2021). 

  • Diverse Workforce.

    Emirates promotes inclusivity is not only its passengers but also its workforce. The workforce of Emirates consists of employees which in total, are from over 160 nationalities. Emirates wants to highlight the diversity of the UAE in its workforce and passengers (Singh, 2019). This builds the positive reputation of Emirates.

  • Impressive Sponsorships.

    The lineup of the sponsors of Emirates is quite impressive in terms of popularity. Emirates has insanely major football teams like Real Madrid and Arsenal FC as its sponsors and partners. Other than that, Emirates also has sponsorships with teams of rugby, golf, sailing, tennis, etc. (Emirates, 2021a). This displays the highly diverse yet popular and successful sponsorships of Emirates. These are quite strategic sponsorships Emirates has invested in as it allows them to acquire more customers and expand their target audience. 

  • Environmentally Cautious.

    Emirates tries to be as environmentally cautious as it can be while traveling. The airline keeps its emission release in check and even tries to reduce it. Emirates is also responsible for its consumption and how they source items or dispose of waste. The airline also actively prevents wildlife from going extinct (Emirates, 2021b). This increases Emirates’ reputation and makes them appealing to the young generation as they are extremely cautious about the environment. This makes people think that Emirates is an airline that acknowledges the environmental problems and how they can make an active effort to reduce these problems. 

Emirates Weaknesses 2021:

  • Fined Over Iran Flights.

    Due to increased political tensions and military activities, the US had banned flights from flying over in a few Iranian airspaces. Emirates was subjected to a fine of $400,000 as it went against this ban and operated flights in these areas (Shepardson, 2020). 

  • False Allegations.

    Emirates has faced multiple harsh allegations, the most famous being from American airlines. These airlines falsely accused Emirates of getting $42.3 billion as government subsidies (Jones, 2015). This issue was resolved soon when Emirates debunked these allegations, and a conclusion was reached that there would be financial transparency amongst American and UAE airlines (Casey, 2018).However, these allegations were debunked; they still cast a negative image of Emirates and made Emirates an untrustworthy airline in people’s eyes. The airline has also faced an allegation of ‘unprofessional’ behavior from Shikhar Dhawan, a renowned Indian cricketer (Business Standard, 2017). Such allegations will make customers doubt the services of Emirates and will lead to a loss in customers. 

  • Vehicle Accident.

    The reported incident was in 2016 when a Boeing 777-300’s caught fire because it was trying a go-around while skidding on the runway. The pilots failed to manage the engine settings properly and missed out steps of the cockpit procedure. However, all the passengers evacuated safely; there was the casualty of a firefighter (Cornwell, 2020). Tragic incidents like these induce a bad image of Emirates in the minds of people. It leads them to think that Emirates might be irresponsible or clumsy. 

Emirates Opportunities 2021:

  • Expand Further in the US.

    US is a potential market for Emirates because worldwide American airlines hold the highest market share, which is 19.3% (Salas, 2021). This displays that the Airline industry in the US is quite popular and generates a lot of revenue. It is also estimated that during the second quarter of 2022, North America will see a $9.9 billion profit in the airline industry (International Airport Review, 2021). 

  • Alliances.

    Emirates could make strategic alliances with other international airlines in different markets, such as in the US, it could align with Delta or Frontier. Such alliances will increase the global footprint of Emirates as it will help it expand the routes of Emirates geographically and make it affordable for different demographical audiences. This will also increase their target audience and help them attract new passengers. 

Emirates Threats 2021:

  • Decline in Tourism.

    There is always the risk of tourism declining which could lead to huge losses for Emirates. Since the pandemic, this risk seems highly likely to occur at any time the situation gets worse. The drop in sales caused due to this will take years to make up for. 

  • Competitors.

    Major Competitors of Emirates include Qatar Airways, Etihad, and Turkish Airlines. Intense competition from these renowned airlines deepens the risk of Emirates losing its name and becoming a dissolved airline.Even minor mistakes could lead to Emirates losing customers and its competitors gaining popularity and customers. 

Emirates SWOT Analysis Conclusion:

Drawing to a conclusion, it can be said that Emirates as an airline has made its position, especially in the UAE region. The airline has multiple strengths that help maintain the top position of Emirates, such as impressive sponsorships and being an airline that cares about the environment. This has helped Emirates gain a lot of popularity and has led to an increase in sales. However, allegations of subsidies and unprofessional behavior hinder these sales. By capitalizing on the opportunities of expanding to the US and having alliances with other international airlines, Emirates can reduce the effects of the weaknesses and even minimize the risk of the threats. 


  1. Business Standard. (2017). Emirates Airline denies Dhawan’s allegations of foul treatment. Business Standard. 
  2. Casey, D. (2018). US and UAE sign deal to resolve airline competition allegations. Routes. 
  3. Cornwell, A. (2020). Emirates crew failed to monitor settings in 2016 crash, probe finds. Reuters. 
  4. Emirates. (2021a). Sponsorships. Emirates.
  5. Emirates. (2021b). Our planet. Emirates. 
  6. Information Design. (2021). Spotlight on the Middle East: Top 10 Biggest Airlines by Fleet Size. Information Design.
  7. International Airport Review. (2021). IATA reveals latest outlook for airline industry financial performance. International Airport Review. 
  8. Jones, R. (2015). Emirates Airline Files 388-Page Report Rebutting Subsidy Allegations. The Wall Street Journal. 
  9. Routes. (2021). Emirates. Routes Online. 
  10. Salas, E. (2021). Leading airlines in the U.S. by domestic market share 2020. Statista. 
  11. Shepardson, D. (2020). U.S. fines Emirates $400,000 for flying over Iranian airspace. Reuters. 
  12. Singh, J. (2019). Emirates Wants to Operate World’s Most Diverse Flight. Simple Flying. 
  13. Skirka, H. (2021). World’s best airlines in 2021: Emirates ranks in the top 10. The National News. 

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