Part of the answer is in the article.
An airline such as EK
, even if it does not receive subsidies, is in fact more than an airline. It is a part of a global strategy. The royal family owns them, owns the hotels, and creates events to attract people. (sport events, Dubai Shopping Festival, ...)They also create other activities (high tech, communication, bank; they have "free-zones"....)
There is just one thing that this article doesn't understand. The author gives the feeling, that for him, most of the potential visitors will come from the States, and may be afraid to come.
That just a lack of knowledge of the history. The Gulf area, even at the time Dubai was a village) have always been very important trade areas between Europe and Asia, for the last milleniums. Remember the Greeks, Marco Polo, ...
Business is in the blood of the people in this region. And since they control all the tools,(resorts, events, transportation) and have the money to finance it (oil) I don't see why this strategy should fail.