Image: Brand Finance

US carrier Delta (brand value up 22% to US$8.9 billion) is the world’s most valuable airlines brand again, just ahead of the rapidly growing American Airlines (brand value up 36% to US$8.5 billion).

Every year, leading brand valuation consultancy Brand Finance puts 5,000 of the biggest brands to the test, and publishes over 100 reports, ranking brands across all sectors and countries. The world’s top 50 most valuable and strongest airline brands are included in the annual Brand Finance Airlines 50 2023 ranking.

Delta’s brand value growth this year came on the back of several key decisions, including a 20% stake in LATAM Airlines Group gaining tentative approval from regulators. The acquisition will give Delta a significant presence in the South American region and will allow it to expand its network and offer more competitive fares to customers.

Savio D’Souza, director of brand finance commented: “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.”

Ethiopian Airlines is fastest-growing airline brand, up 79%

Ethiopian Airlines (brand value up 79% to US$498 million) is the fastest-growing airlines brand globally, with the African airline now the continent’s largest airline brand. Other fast-growing brands include Vueling (brand value up 44% to US$527 million), United Airlines (brand value up 42% to US$7.8 billion) and China Southern (brand value up 39% to US$3.2 billion).

ANA is strongest airline brand, earning AAA rating

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.

ANA (brand value up 5% to US$2.4 billion) is the strongest airline brand this year, earning a AAA brand strength rating. ANA relaunched its international network in 2022 after a two-year hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The airline resumed flights to several popular destinations, including New York, London, and Paris.

Middle Eastern Airlines: Emirates is biggest and strongest in region, Qatar and Saudia are growing fast Emirates (brand value up 2% to US$5.1 billion) has retained its position as the most valuable Middle Eastern airlines brand, and fourth most valuable airline brand globally.

Qatar Airways (brand value up 23% to US$2.5 billion) was the Official Airline for FIFA World Cup which was the first edition to be hosted in the Middle East. The airline gained plaudits for effectively supporting the FIFA World Cup and delivering on its promise for an enhanced experience for travellers to the mega-event.

Saudia (brand value up 14% to US$651 million) is also growing fast as it opens new routes to deliver on the Kingdom’s ambitious tourism target for 2030. The brand has invested heavily in optimising its operations to improve customer experience to reflect the brands unique position as the flag carrier and the role it must play to build the Kingdom’s perceptions globally. The brand is also investing in building its awareness and familiarity in key international markets as evidenced by its investments in Formula 1 (Official Airline of the Aston Martin Aramco Cognizant Formula One Team) and Formula E (Official Airline Partner).

Delta has the highest Sustainability Perception Value, while Eva Airways leads on Sustainability Perception Score. As part of its analysis, Brand Finance assesses the role that specific brand attributes play in driving overall brand value. One such attribute, growing rapidly in its significance, is sustainability.

As well as being the world’s most valuable brand Airline brand, Delta also has the highest Sustainability Perceptions Value (SPV) of any brand included in the Airline 50 200 ranking – USD544 million. Although Delta has looked to become more sustainable, its 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.

Eva Airways has the highest Sustainability Perceptions Score in the Airlines 50 2023 ranking at 5.0 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.

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