SINGAPORE, 22 July 2021: US airlines are emerging from the Covid-19 crisis with their brand value ranking intact, while Asian airlines with just a few exceptions dropped places in the annual Brand Finance Airlines 50 2021 ranking.
Overall the annual report showed the world’s top airline brands lost over USD35 billion in brand value.
However, despite brand value for the top 50 airlines falling by a third from USD108.6 billion in 2020 to USD72.9 billion in 2021 Delta, American Airlines, and United Airlines retained the top three spots in the 2021 ranking. Their brand value slumped 30 to 40%, but they still continued to dominate the leaderboard ahead of fourth-placed Emirates.
Excluding China’s mega airlines — Air China (6th) China Southern (7th) and China Eastern (8th) — Japan Airlines ranked the highest in Asia in 14th place ahead of ANA in 17th place.
Brand Finance that conducts the ranking said: “The airline sector is one of the most severely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, with international travel at a near-complete standstill since the beginning of 2020. With airlines forced to ground a significant amount of their fleets and cut flights down to worryingly low numbers, brands are grappling with depleting cash reserves and dependence on government or state support.”
The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has forecast that the industry will not make a full recovery to pre-pandemic levels until 2023 or 2024. According to Brand Finance’s analysis, low-cost airlines are predicted to make a quicker recovery than their full-service counterparts.
In Southeast Asia, low-cost AirAsia ranked the highest (20) of all the airlines in the 10 country region, even higher than 22nd placed Singapore Airlines.
Surprisingly, Thai Airways International, currently under bankruptcy court protection, ranked 31, one place ahead of the troubled Cathay Pacific (32) and Garuda Indonesia also facing the threat of bankruptcy gained the 48th slot out of 50. India’s Indigo climbed the ranks to 36.
Brand Finance noted: “Airlines that successfully manage to fly through the economic storm of the pandemic and protect their brands are likely to be more resilient and perform better as we return to normality.”
Download the executive summary