As a founder of Emirates, one of the world’s largest carriers, Sir Tim Clark has witnessed huge changes in the airline industry. In 1975, aged 21, Sir Tim joined British Caledonian straight from university and today serves as president of Emirates Airline.
In recognition of his leading role in the aviation industrial sector, Sir Tim was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Laws by the UK’s University of Warwick during the winter 2018 degree congregations. At the event, while reflecting on his career, Sir Tim said, “When I came into the business in the early 1970s we weren’t talking about propeller airplanes and biplanes, but the industry has scaled up enormously. The demand for travel has gone through the roof in the last 30-40 years and the affordability of air travel is so great that the scale of operations for carriers such as ourselves, reacting to market demand, has changed everything we do.
“You see the A380 now, an aircraft that will carry 615 people. When I came into the business the largest aircraft was the Boeing 707 and that carried 133 people.”
On how the world has changed and will continue to change during his time in industry, Sir Tim argued that, “what see today will bear no resemblance to what we are looking at in 10 or 15 years”.
Speaking of the world that graduates are entering, Sir Tim said it is one that is going through “a major change” in how people live their lives. “Whether it is lifestyle, fashion of aspiration, a lot of things have changed” and there has been a “huge transposition of the way people think about themselves, what they aspire to do and how they want to get there – and that backs into the airline sector as we need to be a service provider, in a highly competitive business, to what people really want”.
You can hear more of Sir Tim’s views in our Videos section HERE.
Through his role as Chair of the Emirates’ Airline Foundation, a charitable organization that supports projects including schools and hospitals across Africa and Asia, Sir Tim believes that it is key for the next generation of business leaders to think about the responsibilities companies have to the world around them and think of those as the ones for whom they would like to work.
“The brand of tomorrow has to be a brand that is balanced, that is aware of what it does and how it does it and start to balance out the commercialism with the responsibilities that goes with something that is a big as [Emirates].”
The Foundation was started in support of children suffering from AIDS and has grown into a larger operation, also supporting wildlife conversation. This work has seen Emirates feature species facing extinction on its aircraft liveries. “The fact of the matter is, the more you do of that, and the more it enriches your brand, the more it brings people in”.
This belief has seen Sir Tim voicing announcements on Emirates aircraft arguing against purchasing goods made from poached animals. “I’ve seen too much corporate malfeasance and lack of governance”, stated Sir Tim. New graduates should look at what they are going into and look for companies that have a “wholesome approach to the way they go about their business model”.