In what is nothing short of miraculous, one of the world’s most loathed airlines has been named the world’s most powerful airline brand.
Brand Finance, a well-respected “branded business valuation and strategy consultancy” has named Aeroflot Russian Airlines the world’s most powerful airline brand in its annual Global 500 List.
Actually, nine other airlines were given an identical triple-A rating, but Global 500 singled out Aeroflot as “the most powerful” due to its young fleet, heavy marketing around the world, and sponsorship of the Manchester United football team.
Indeed, Aeroflot has also turned itself around from one of the most unsafe airlines in the world to one of the safest. Its pilots are no longer drunk, its planes no longer crash, and it has a young and modern fleet. For better or worse, no more Russian jetliners…
It also has the world’s most seductive safety video–
Brand Finance used 30 factors to judge brand strength. For its airline category, these included items such as fleet size and age, safety stats, financial and operating results, and industry ratings from Skytrax. The complete list is here.
In explaining its analysis, Brand Finance added–
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.
My Thoughts on Aeroflot
Although the majority — truly, the majority — of my predominantly North American based clients (though Award Expert has and welcomes clients from all over the world) refuse to fly on Aeroflot, view are softening. Aeroflot is starting to get the word out.
I first flew Aeroflot in 2008 and had remarkable longhaul journey from Moscow to Hong Kong. The service and food were nothing short of tremendous. Take away the drunk screaming passenger two seats in front of me that shattered my slumber in the middle of the night and it may have been on the top five flights of my life. It sill ranks high.
Things have only gotten better. New planes, new business class, and the same great food and service. Plus, Aeroflot has real business class seats in regional business, like Turkish and unlike all its other European competition. In fact, Aeroflot has forced British Airways to run ex-bmi A321s on its Moscow route to adequately compete.
When I flew through Heathrow last month I noticed this in the Queen’s Terminal (T2 -Star Alliance)–
So yes, Aeroflot is trying to make inroads into markets it traditionally did not compete well in.
Top 10 Powerful Airline Brands
- American Airlines
- China Southern Airlines
- Jetblue Airways
- Turkish Airlines
- Westjet Airlines
Brand Finance also released its list of the the most valuable airline brands-
Top 20 valuable airline brands
- American Airlines
- China Southern
- China Eastern
- Air China
- British Airways
- Qatar Airways
- Japan Airlines
- Air Canada
- Turkish Airlines
- Alaska Airlines
- Hainan Airlines
Gulf Carriers’ Pain is Aeroflot’s and AA’s Gain
Aeroflot and American Airlines did not just jump to the top of the list — they displaced Emirates.
The top three most valuable airline brands are now all American. For the last five years Emirates, had held the title of world’s most valuable airline brand, but 2017 sees a dramatic shift. Last year, Emirates’ half-year profits plunged 75%. The lower oil price might have been expected to help all airlines, however it has worked against the Gulf carriers, reducing demand from its home region. The lower oil price has also levelled the playing field for international rivals, leading to increased competition, driving down fares. The discount rate applied to all Gulf airlines has increased in tandem with this less favourable environment, reducing long term value. Finally, the strength of the dollar has increased operating costs and also had a negative FX impact on all non-US domiciled brands.
As a consequence, Emirates’ brand value is down 21% to US$6.1 billion, Etihad’s value is flat (staying at US$1.56bn) while Qatar Airways has been most strongly affected, with brand value falling 38% from 2016 to US$2.16bn.
I always question how much weight to put into studies like these. I mean, tell most people that Aeroflot and Aeromexico are the most “powerful” brands and you’ll be laughed at. No mention of Singapore Airlines or Cathay Pacific? Come on…And the press release read Aeroflot Trumps America’s Airline Brands. Really now?
Maybe the joke is on us for even reading their report.