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
- American Airlines
- Southwest Airlines
- China Southern Airlines
- China Eastern Airlines
- British Airways
- Air China
- Japan Airlines
- Air Canada
- Turkish Airlines
- Qatar Airways
- Air France
- Alaska Airlines
- Hainan Airlines
- Korean Air Korea
- JetBlue Airways
- Etihad Airways
- LATAM Airlines
- Singapore Airlines
- Thai Airways
- Shenzhen Airlines
- Norwegian Air
- Cathay Pacific
- Air New Zealand
- WestJet Airlines
- Juneyao Airlines
- Eva Air
- Asiana Airlines
- Spirit Airlines
- Xiamen Airlines
- Shanghai Airlines
- China Airlines
- Scandinavian Airlines
- Wizz Air
- Virgin Atlantic
- Virgin Australia