The World’s Most Powerful Airline Brand? You’ll Never Guess

Open Jaw

For decades it was the butt of jokes due to perceived lax safety standards and pilots who were known to imbibe, before and even during flights.

But today, according to valuation and strategy consultancy Brand Finance, Aeroflot is the most powerful airline brand in the world.

Brand Finance, which recently unveiled its annual Global 500 list, topped by the likes of Lego, Google, Nike, Ferrari and Visa, makes the claim that Aeroflot eclipses the biggest carriers in the Middle East, U.S. and Europe with a ‘AAA brand rating.’

While nine other airlines boast the same triple-A score – including Canada’s WestJet -- Brand Finance singled out RU as the most “powerful” of all, highlighting its sponsorship of Manchester United, its young fleet, and its heavy investment in marketing, particularly in Asia.

According to Brand Finance, 30 factors are taken into account when judging brand strength, including fleet size, average age of fleet, safety measures, number of employees, investments made by the company, financial and operating results, client loyalty as well as key industry ratings from Skytrax and IATA.

 “The news may come as a surprise to those in Europe and North America more familiar with Western or Gulf flag carriers. Aeroflot’s brand strength stems in part from dominance of its domestic market. Its brand equity scores for metrics such as familiarity, consideration, preference and loyalty are formidable, both when compared against other Russian airlines and against foreign ones within their home markets.”

Brand Finance also judges airlines and other companies according to ‘brand value,’ defined as the value of the trade marks (and relating marketing IP and ‘goodwill’ attached to it) within the branded business. In that measurement, Aeroflot is a long way off the pace.

American Airlines is the most valuable airline brand, ahead of Delta, United, Emirates and Southwest, while the Russian carrier ranks 26th. Air Canada jumped five places in this year’s ranking, from 20th to 15th, while WestJet moved up to 33rd from 39th

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