Brand Finance Airlines 50 Ranking: A look at the world’s most valuable and strongest airline brands

Each year, Brand Finance – a leading brand validation company – publishes various reports across sectors to rank the best brands. The world’s top 50 most valuable and strongest airline brands are included in this year’s annual Brand Finance Airlines 50 ranking.

“The pandemic may have grounded airplanes, but it couldn’t stop people from dreaming of travel. As the world reopens, airlines are poised to take off, with their brand values on track to recover lost ground by 2024.”  

Savio D’Souza, Director of Brand Finance

The Ranking, in a cumulative sense, suggests that the airline industry – for both passenger and cargo – is on a slow and steady rise after taking an initial hit due to the pandemic, the following war, and the attached challenges. The insights from the 2023 Ranking suggest positive trends when it comes to the cargo dimension of the global air cargo industry. The recovery of airlines, expansion strategies, and sustainability focus can create opportunities for growth and improvement in cargo operations, connectivity, and environmental practices.

According to the 2023 Ranking, Delta Airlines was estimated to be of the highest value in the global industry as its brand value went up by 22% to USD 8.9 billion. A significant factor to it was the regulators’ approval to a 20% stake in LATAM Airlines, which will help Delta expand in the South American region. Following closely is American Airlines, whose brand value went up by 36% to USD 8.5 billion). 

Keeping aside the value factor, Africa based Ethiopian Airlines was ranked as the fastest growing in the world and biggest brand in the continent, with an impressive growth rate of 79%. Others that follow include Vueling (brand value up 44%), United Airlines (brand value up 42%) and China Southern (brand value up 39%).

In addition to calculating brand value, Brand Finance also determines the relative strength of brands through a balanced scorecard of metrics evaluating marketing investment, stakeholder equity, and business performance. Compliant with ISO 20671, Brand Finance’s assessment of stakeholder equity incorporates original market research data from over 100,000 respondents in 38 countries and across 31 sectors.

In that category, Japan’s All Nippon Airways (ANA) is the strongest airline brand this year, earning a AAA brand strength rating. AAA is the highest possible rating that may be assigned to an issuer’s bonds by any of the major credit-rating agencies, and AAA-rated bonds have a high degree of creditworthiness. It is a strong comeback for ANA after a two-year hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic

Moving on to the steadily rising to fame Middle Eastern Airlines, Emirates is leading and has retained its position in the region with a brand value increase of 2% taking its value to USD 5.1 billion. It is also the 4th most valuable brand globally. Qatar Airlines with brand value up 23% to USD 2.5 billion, and Saudia Airlines with brand value up 14% to USD 651 million, are following closely. 

Qatar Airways, the Official Airline for FIFA World Cup™, gained plaudits for effectively supporting the mega event and delivering on its promise for an enhanced experience for travelers. Saudia, on the other hand, has invested heavily in optimising its operations to reflect the brands unique position as the flag carrier and the role it must play to build the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s perceptions globally. 

While talking about the most relied upon mode of transportation in the world, Sustainability is one point of reference that cannot be ignored. As part of its analysis, Brand Finance assessed the role that specific brand attributes, including sustainability, play in driving overall brand value. However, a brand’s position at the top of the SPV table is not an assessment of its overall sustainability performance. Rather, it indicates how much brand value it has tied up in sustainability perceptions.

In that category, Delta Airlines has the highest Sustainability Perception Value (USD 544 million), while Eva Airways is leading when it comes to Sustainability Perception Score with 5 points out of 10. The airline has set a clear target to achieve Net-Zero Carbon Emissions by 2050, demonstrating their long-term vision for a greener future. This involves actively implementing various energy-saving measures. The Sustainability Perceptions Score is calculated using Brand Finance’s latest Global Brand Equity Monitor data. Brand Value is calculated for the brand in accordance with ISO10668. 

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