The shifting fortunes of companies that make up the Brand Finance Aerospace and Defence 2024 ranking point to more fundamental changes taking place within the industry, according to Savio D’Souza, director at Brand Finance.

The growing relevance of private space exploration and increasing demand for defence and security technology are two themes evident in this year’s ranking.

D’Souza told FINN: “Boeing has topped the ranking every year, despite reputational hits and broader industry challenges.”

But he added: “2024 is the closest Boeing has come to losing its hold on the top stop, with second-place Airbus gaining but not yet closing the gap.

“Lockheed Martin is third ranked with Northrop Grumman coming in fourth, holding onto the rank it first earned in 2019, representing the last significant shift in the top rankings.”

Despite the turbulence felt across the industry, including the after-effects of Covid, supply chain issues and several high-profile safety incidents, D’Souza said there was surprisingly little change at the top of the ranking.

“In 2021, Lockheed Martin temporarily overtook Airbus, but other than that, the ranking has remained largely unchanged over the last decade. Brand Finance research has found this stability is a testament to the cautious brand management of the largest aerospace and defence brands, a sharp contrast against more volatile consumer-facing brands in other sectors,” he said.

“That said, the ranking is not rock solid. According to Brand Finance data, Boeing faces valuation challenges despite its top rank, due to issues surrounding its 737 model family. While the brand value of Airbus skyrockets, SpaceX enters the race.

“With brand valuation of $3.5 billion, SpaceX made its debut into the top 10 rankings, signifying the growing relevance of private space exploration entities within the aerospace and defence landscape.”

He added: “Defence and security technology are also increasingly in demand, as is reflected in Hanwha Aerospace’s significant brand value increase this year. Brand Finance also reports that Rheinmetall and AviChina saw remarkable brand growth, alongside Bombardier, which achieved a 22% surge in brand value, indicating robust growth trajectories within specific market segments.

“The Brand Finance Aerospace and Defence ranking underscores the evolving dynamics of the aerospace and defence industry, where innovation, strategic market positioning, and brand value are intertwined in determining which brands are top ranked, regardless of how conservatively brands are managed.”
Subscribe to the FINN weekly newsletter