American tops the list of most valuable airline brands in new report

posted on 26th April 2018 by Justin Burns
American tops the list of most valuable airline brands in new report

A report published by brand valuation and strategy consultancy firm Brand Finance has found that American Airlines is world’s most valuable in 2018 despite its value falling by seven per cent to $9.1 billion.

The other big, full service, US airlines each endured bumpy skies the report said, including second-ranked Delta (down six per cent to $8.7 billion) and third-ranked United Airlines (down two per cent to $7 billion).

However, Chinese airline brand values are taking off as they spread their wings with greater growth beyond the domestic market.

China Southern (up 10 per cent to $4.1 billion) remains the Chinese brand leader, ahead of China Eastern (up 21 per cent to $3.8 billion), and Air China (up 19 per cent to $3.4 billion).

The report says this a reflection of the eastward-movement of the global airline business, British Airways was down six per cent to $3.5 billion fell down the ranking to 8th place, behind two of the Chinese brands and only narrowly ahead of Air China.

Brand Finance 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.

The report found Aeroflot is the world’s strongest airline brand (up 13 per cent to $1.4 billion) driven by strong equity, built up through investments in its brand and marketing promotion in the Russian and international markets.

Lufthansa was the biggest mover, up 29 per cent $2.9 billion and now in 10th spot while Emirates is top in the Middle East despite challenges. The report ranked the Dubai-based carrier 4th globally, but said its value was down 12 per cent to $5.3 billion, ahead of Qatar Airways (down 11 per cent to $1.9 billion) in 16th place, and Etihad (down 11 per cent to $1.4 billion) in 25th.

Brand Finance chief executive officer, David Haigh said: “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.”

World’s 10 Most Valuable Airline Brands

Rank 2018 Rank 2017 Brand name Country Brand value (USD bn) 2018 % change Brand value (USD bn) 2017 Brand rating 2018 Brand rating 2017
1 1 American Airlines USA 9.1 -7%  9.8 AAA AAA
2 2 Delta USA 8.7 -6%  9.2 AAA AAA
3 3 United Airlines USA 7.0 -2%  7.2 AAA- AAA-
4 4 Emirates UAE 5.3 -12%  6.1 AAA AAA
5 5 Southwest Airlines USA 5.3 -12%  6.0 AAA AAA
6 7 China Southern China 4.1 10%  3.7 AAA- AAA
7 8 China Eastern China 3.8 21%  3.1 AAA- AAA-
8 6 British Airways UK 3.5 -6%  3.7 AA+ AA+
9 9 Air China China 3.4 19%  2.9 AAA- AAA-
10 11 Lufthansa Germany 2.9 29%  2.3 AA+ AA