The top three most valuable airline brands in the world are all American, with Emirates No4 and British Airways No8 in the ranking

American Airlines

American Airlines remains the world’s most valuable airline brand, according to an annual study. Delta is the second-most valuable brand according to the ranking, United comes third and British Airways is eighth.

AA was top in 2017, too, and held on to the top spot despite its brand value falling by seven per cent to $9.1billion.

Aeroflot remains ‘strongest airline brand’

In addition to measuring overall brand value, Brand Finance also evaluates the relative strength of brands, based on factors such as marketing investment, familiarity, loyalty, staff satisfaction, and corporate reputation.

Aeroflot remains the world’s strongest airline brand

Brand strength is used to determine what proportion of a business’s revenue is contributed by the brand.

Aeroflot (up 13 per cent to US$1.4 billion) remains the world’s strongest airline brand ‘with AAA brand rating driven by consistently strong brand equity, built up through investments in its brand and marketing promotion in the Russian and key international markets’, according to Brand Finance.

The difference between brand value and strength can be illustrated by the examples of Toyota and Ferrari. The former is worth more, but Ferrari’s brand is exceptionally strong, because of its pedigree and exclusivity.

Delta’s value was also down – by six per cent to $8.7billion – and United’s was down by two per cent to $7billion.

Brand Finance, which produced the ranking, said: ‘The trio of big American airlines have each failed to grow their brand values as they suffered from a series of larger macro-economic challenges in a post-consolidation phase.

‘In addition, they have been beset by higher fuel costs and a number of flight cancellations caused by storms. Meanwhile, the rise of social media has allowed unhappy customers to share a number of stories that have spread virally, but this does not appear to be causing significant long-term damage to airline brands.’

United, for instance, had to tackle several PR headaches in 2017, with one caused by a passenger being violently dragged off an overbooked flight.

It was an incident that sparked a national debate over industry practices.

In light of this, many will not be surprised that it came last out of America’s big three in the ranking.

The rest of the top ten is made up of Emirates (4th), Southwest Airlines (5th), China Southern Airlines (6th), China Eastern Airlines (7th), Air China (ninth) and Lufthansa (10th).

David Haigh, CEO of Brand Finance, commented: ‘In the airline market, customers are making decisions about brands on a very narrow range of factors: price, routing, and schedules.

‘Despite big viral news stories which gained media attention globally affecting several brands, in the airline business, it is reliability on delivering core services that customers find key in taking purchasing decisions.

‘Consequently, the Chinese brands are the big winners in this area as they have been able to grow their brands by giving customers greater confidence in their dependability and safety as they grow alongside the Chinese economy.’

The top 50 most valuable airline brands in the world

  1. American Airlines
  2. Delta
  3. United
  4. Emirates
  5. Southwest Airlines
  6. China Southern Airlines
  7. China Eastern Airlines
  8. British Airways
  9.  Air China
  10. Lufthansa
  11. ANA
  12. Japan Airlines
  13. Air Canada
  14. Qantas
  15. Turkish Airlines
  16. Qatar Airways
  17. Ryanair
  18. Air France
  19. easyJet
  20. Alaska Airlines
  21. Hainan Airlines
  22. Korean Air Korea
  23. JetBlue Airways
  24. Aeroflot
  25. Etihad Airways
  26. LATAM Airlines
  27. Singapore Airlines
  28. Thai Airways
  29. Shenzhen Airlines
  30. AirAsia
  31. Norwegian Air
  32. Cathay Pacific
  33. KLM
  34. Saudia
  35. Air New Zealand
  36. WestJet Airlines
  37. Juneyao Airlines
  38. Iberia
  39. Eva Air
  40. Asiana Airlines
  41. Spirit Airlines
  42. Xiamen Airlines
  43. Shanghai Airlines
  44. China Airlines
  45. SWISS
  46. Scandinavian Airlines
  47. Wizz Air
  48. Jetstar
  49. Virgin Atlantic
  50. Virgin Australia

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