Delta claims title of most valuable airline brand

Delta Air Line’s brand value grew 16% over the past year to US$10.1 billion, making it the world’s most valuable airline brand according to the latest report by brand valuation consultancy Brand Finance.

The airline swooped to the pole position in the Brand Finance Airlines 50 2019 ranking, taking the top spot from American Airlines. Meanwhile Emirates fell to fifth place in the top 10 (though its brand value was up 17% to $6.26 billion), meaning the top four slots of the airline ranking have been filled by US airlines.

British Airways has retained the 8th position (up 20% to $4.1 billion) and customers have remarked on its airport lounges, flight schedule flexibility and loyalty reward schemes, meanwhile Lufthansa comes in at number 10 with brand value up 8%.

Brand values of all three of the top ten Chinese airlines have strengthened, assisted by a late drop in fuel cost.

Budget airlines; Wizz Air, easyJet, and JetBlue have seen success, whilst Norwegian Airline’s brand value has dropped 7% to $0.9 billion.

Brand Finance also found that the Russian carrier Aeroflot is the strongest brand in the Airlines 50 2019 ranking with a brand rating of AAA+ up from AAA last year. Brand Finance attributed the airline’s brand value growth of 6% (to $1.5 billion) to its expansion and addition of new routes to Dubai World Central, Phuket, Marseille and Palma Mallorca. The group aims to carry 100 million passengers by 2023, marking the 100th anniversary of the group and Aeroflot brand, the consultancy commented: “Crucial steps towards achieving this goal will be for the brand to continue its focus on investment in sustaining brand strength and therefore upholding its AAA+ rating through to the following year.”

Strengthening brands and hurdles to overcome

The report found that, “New routes, new airports, and new ventures are set to strengthen the performance of airline brands taking advantage of the ever-growing demand for travel in Asia-Pacific.”

It particularly noted China Southern (up 10% to $4.5 billion), China Eastern (up 11% to $4.2 billion), Air China (up 20% to $4.1 billion), Xiamen Airlines (soaring 70% to $1.1 billion), Air Asia (up 35% to $1.3 billion) and Korean Air (up 21% to $1.8 billion). China’s largest low-cost airline was a new entrant with a brand value of $0.6 billion getting it into the 50th position in the ranking.

The Brand Finance report also found, “Mergers are part of the success story behind this year’s top four American airlines and this healthy growth is likely to continue.”

The report also considered the impact of the Boeing 737 MAX 8 groundings, “Whilst Southwest Airlines is the fastest growing brand in the top four (up 24% at $6.9 billion) the recent grounding of its 737 MAX 8 aircraft following the Ethiopian Airlines crash, could affect it and American Airlines’ returns.”


For a closer look into airline branding, and how airlines incorporate their branding into the cabin interiors, look out for the May/June issue of Inflight magazine! Click here for more information on subscribing to Inflight.

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