Sir Tim Clark, the president of Emirates, believes that bigger things are in store for his airline as it embarks on what he calls its “third era”.
After winning both the Business Leader of the Year and Transport and Logistics Leader of the Year at the 2023 Gulf Business Awards in Dubai this week on November 28, Clark spoke about what he envisions for the future of his world-renowned airline.
READ MORE: Winners of the Gulf Business Awards 2023
Clark was one of the first ten members of the airline’s small management team back in 1985. He would go on to become president of Emirates in 2003. In the 38 years since its founding, Emirates has expanded into one of the world’s biggest airlines, with flights to over 135 destinations and a fleet size of over 260 aircraft.
At the recently concluded Dubai 2023 Airshow, Emirates also made a commitment for an additional 90 Boeing aircraft, worth $52bn as well as 15 additional Airbus A350-900s, all worth $6bn.
“We’re just about to enter into what I call the third era of Emirates, another 20-25 years, and the building blocks of that are in place now,” Clark told Gulf Business, on the sidelines of the awards at the Palazzo Versace in Dubai.
“The team are ready to take it on beyond me, because I won’t be here in 25 years. But they’ve all worked with me. We have a lot of people in the business who have been here for over 20 years and people coming behind them,” said Clark.
Clark, in his interview with Gulf Business, also alluded to the growing competition in the GCC when it comes to its airline sector. Earlier this year, Saudi Arabia’s newest airline, Riyadh Air, announced plans to launch in 2025. The kingdom’s new airline is targeting reaching 100 cities by 2030. Many other airlines in the region are also looking to expand their offerings, in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.
But Clark says he believes the growing passenger airline market in the Gulf will help create even greater growth for Emirates into the future.
“Even though some people may rate it as a competitor situation for Emirates, I don’t share that view,” Clark told Gulf Business.
“I think the economic power and the multiplier of what is going on here is going to spawn new airlines. It will provide new energy and the markets that we need to grow Emirates to almost double its size by the mid-2030s, early-2040s. So it’s a good story and I’m really proud to have been one of the original ten [management team members of Emirates in 1985],” Clark added.
On the evening of the 2023 Gulf Business Awards, Emirates also won the Transport and Logistics Company of the Year, bringing its total awards tally to three.
The 11th Gulf Business Awards recognised a total of 43 winners this year, who represented a wide array of business leaders and companies across multiple industrial verticals, including tourism, hospitality, transport and logistics, real estate, banking, finance and investment, healthcare and retail. Over 250 top business people attended the event on 28 November.