Emirates Boss: Airlines Who Don’t Deal With ‘Seismic Shift’ in Technology to Perish


“Guys, there’s a storm coming and if you don’t get on it and deal with it you will perish”.

Tim Clark, the veteran president of Emirates Airlines has warned the impact of the latest technology in the world will ‘revolutionise’ the airline industry. Speaking in an interview with Business Insider, he added ‘and I don’t say that lightly’.

Discussing how his own airline, Emirates, is embracing technology, Clark believes the impending changes in the industry go far beyond the role of tech in ancillary revenue streams or moving business processes onto digital platforms. Those steps, he says, are “a given”. He fears the industry as a whole has been ‘Jurassic’ in its thinking up until now, pointing to the inefficiencies in the huge number of processes and steps involved in getting planes in the air. These systems, says Clark, impose limitations on the thinking of staff that must be broken down.

The Emirates boss thinks that AI and robotics will be used to ‘reconstruct’ the current processes, creating huge efficiencies. He also believes that those working for airlines should not be living in fear for their jobs because the wealth that these new tech-driven efficiencies will ultimately create will mean airlines are able ‘to do so much more’.

Blockchains in the Airlines Industry
Blockchain technology is one area Emirates sees huge potential in. Originally developed to power Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, blockchain technology is essentially decentralised digital ledgers that record records and transfers on a peer-to-peer system. One particular application of blockchain technology within the airline industry that Clark believes is most obvious is the IATA Clearing House, or ICH. This is the platform over which international airlines clear invoices in a variety of currencies.

Clearly a huge proponent of the potential blockchain technology holds, Clark believes its primary influence will be in the many potential applications it has beyond cryptocurrencies.

“It’s going to transform everything we do and how you and I interact with each other and things around us”.

Emirates, under Clark’s leadership is preparing for a future in which by 10 to 20 years from now the next generation of airline customers will have been exposed to levels of technology which will mean things like augmented reality are commonplace and an accepted norm. That’s something that the airlines of the future will have to cater for and he is convinced that to be successful ‘the company of 2050s will bear no resemblance to the company of 2018’.

Something to keep and mind and think back on when waiting in line at Heathrow in 30 years from now. 30 years ago smoking was still permitted in plane cabins. What the flying experience will look like in another 30 years is anyone’s guess but with Clark’s words in mind it sounds like the latest technology in the world will be firmly centre stage.

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The author Paul