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Delta extends its reach as world’s most valuable airline brand for six consecutive years

27 March 2024
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New data from Brand Finance reveals US airline brands soar in brand value and brand strength on post-pandemic air travel uplift

  • World’s top three most valuable airline brands are American: Delta, American Airlines and United Airlines
  • ANA still the world’s strongest airlines brand, with Indigo and Emirates climbing to second and third strongest
  • British Airways, and Emirates leap forward with biggest brand value gains
  • Heathrow ranked world’s top airport brand again
  • Clear skies ahead for Middle Eastern airline brands with brand value and brand strength improvements for all: Emirates leads, with Qatar, Saudia and Etihad Airways gaining momentum
  • Sustainability drives 6.5% of customer consideration in airline sector

LONDON, 27 March 2024The world’s top 5 most valuable airline brands logged brand value growths of at least 11%, according to a new report by Brand Finance, the world’s leading brand valuation consultancy. American brand Delta (brand value up 21% to USD10.8 billion) retained its top position as the world’s most valuable airline brand for the sixth consecutive year. Similarly, other American brands, American Airlines (brand value up 21% to USD10.2 billion), United Airlines (brand value up 11% to USD8.7 billion) and Southwest Airlines (brand value up 15% to USD5.4 billion), kept their places in 2nd, 3rd and 5th. Completing the world’s top 5 most valuable airline brands, UAE brand Emirates (brand value up 30% to USD6.6 billion) defended its title as the world’s fourth most valuable airline brand.

The strongest airline brands in the world are ANA (brand value down 15% to USD2 billion), followed by Indigo (brand value up 26% to USD1.1 billion) and Emirates. ANA retains its first place with a brand strength rating of AAA-, while Indigo and Emirates surged from sixteenth and twelfth positions, respectively, the previous year.

The largest brand value improvements are by British Airways, and Emirates. They demonstrated impressive double-digit brand value increases in 2024, reflecting their commitments to excellence, customer satisfaction and strategic brand management in the ever-competitive global airline sector. British Airways and recorded the largest increases in brand value with a 45% climb to USD3.2 billion and a 34% rise to USD949 million, respectively. In comparison, Emirates emerged as the third largest brand value improvement with 30% growth.’s performance is al the more impressive as it has surged past its pre-pandemic brand value, while BA and Emirates have more or less recovered to their pre-pandemic valuations.

With global travel recovering after the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic, airline brands in the Middle East have seen a significant rise in traffic, with total traffic in 2023 almost returning to pre-pandemic levels. Middle East aviation was also expected to recover more quickly last year due to factors such as the ongoing expansion of the regional fleet, estimated to be 5.1% annually over the next ten years, a surge in travel to the region owing to the FIFA World Cup, and aggressive campaigns from Saudi Arabia to attract tourists.

With Emirates taking the crown of most valuable Middle Eastern airline brand, Qatar Airways (brand value up 27% to USD3.1 billion) is the 2nd most valuable Middle Eastern brand, maintaining its brand strength rating at AA+. Next in line, Saudia (brand value up 23% to USD797 million) recorded an improvement in brand strength rating from A to A+, ahead of Etihad Airways (brand value up 7% to USD754 million), which retained its brand strength rating of AA.

Savio D’Souza, Valuation Director at Brand Finance, commented:

“The sector has shown tremendous resilience with brand values for the top 50 brands growing by 39% since 2021, bouncing back to pre-pandemic levels. The outlook is expected to be challenging as supply constraints and an uncertain macroeconomic outlook leading to sectoral growth in the low single digits; It is precisely in these conditions where companies who have optimised their investment in brand will tend to outperform the market.”

Brand Finance also utilises its Global Brand Equity Monitor (GBEM) research to compile a Sustainability Perceptions Index which determines the role of sustainability in driving brand consideration across sectors. In the airline sector, sustainability drives 6.5% of customer consideration. Brand Finance’s perceptual data also offers insight into which brands global consumers believe most committed to sustainability.

In addition to ranking the world’s most valuable airline brands, the Brand Finance Airlines 50 report also ranks the world’s most valuable airport brands. This year, London’s Heathrow Airport has increased its brand value by almost a quarter to reach a total of USD832 million to retake its position as the world’s most valuable airport brand. Last year’s top-ranked airport brand, Paris Aeroport, increased its brand value by only 13% to USD779 million and is now the second most valuable airport brand in the world.

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Media Contacts

Penny Erricker
Communications Executive
Brand Finance

About Brand Finance

Brand Finance is the world’s leading brand valuation consultancy. Bridging the gap between marketing and finance for more than 25 years, Brand Finance evaluates the strength of brands and quantifies their financial value to help organizations of all kinds make strategic decisions.

Headquartered in London, Brand Finance has offices in over 20 countries, offering services on all continents. Every year, Brand Finance conducts more than 5,000 brand valuations, supported by original market research, and publishes over 100 reports which rank brands across all sectors and countries.

Brand Finance also operates the Global Brand Equity Monitor, conducting original market research annually on over 5,000 brands, surveying more than 150,000 respondents across 38 countries and 31 industry sectors. Combining perceptual data from the Global Brand Equity Monitor with data from its valuation database enables Brand Finance to arm brand leaders with the data and analytics they need to enhance brand and business value.

Brand Finance is a regulated accountancy firm, leading the standardization of the brand valuation industry. Brand Finance was the first to be certified by independent auditors as compliant with both ISO 10668 and ISO 20671 and has received the official endorsement of the Marketing Accountability Standards Board (MASB) in the United States.

Definition of Brand

Brand is defined as a marketing-related intangible asset including, but not limited to, names, terms, signs, symbols, logos, and designs, intended to identify goods, services, or entities, creating distinctive images and associations in the minds of stakeholders, thereby generating economic benefits.

Brand Strength

Brand strength is the efficacy of a brand’s performance on intangible measures relative to its competitors. Brand Finance evaluates brand strength in a process compliant with ISO 20671, looking at Marketing Investment, Stakeholder Equity, and the impact of those on Business Performance. The data used is derived from Brand Finance’s proprietary market research programme and from publicly available sources.

Each brand is assigned a Brand Strength Index (BSI) score out of 100, which feeds into the brand value calculation. Based on the score, each brand is assigned a corresponding Brand Rating up to AAA+ in a format similar to a credit rating.

Brand Valuation Approach

Brand Finance calculates the values of brands in its rankings using the Royalty Relief approach – a brand valuation method compliant with the industry standards set in ISO 10668. It involves estimating the likely future revenues that are attributable to a brand by calculating a royalty rate that would be charged for its use, to arrive at a ‘brand value’ understood as a net economic benefit that a brand owner would achieve by licensing the brand in the open market.

The steps in this process are as follows:

1 Calculate brand strength using a balanced scorecard of metrics assessing Marketing Investment, Stakeholder Equity, and Business Performance. Brand strength is expressed as a Brand Strength Index (BSI) score on a scale of 0 to 100.

2 Determine royalty range for each industry, reflecting the importance of brand to purchasing decisions. In luxury, the maximum percentage is high, while in extractive industry, where goods are often commoditised, it is lower. This is done by reviewing comparable licensing agreements sourced from Brand Finance’s extensive database.

3 Calculate royalty rate. The BSI score is applied to the royalty range to arrive at a royalty rate. For example, if the royalty range in a sector is 0-5% and a brand has a BSI score of 80 out of 100, then an appropriate royalty rate for the use of this brand in the given sector will be 4%.

4 Determine brand-specific revenues by estimating a proportion of parent company revenues attributable to a brand.

5 Determine forecast revenues using a function of historic revenues, equity analyst forecasts, and economic growth rates.

6 Apply the royalty rate to the forecast revenues to derive brand revenues.

7 Discount post-tax brand revenues to a net present value which equals the brand value.


Brand Finance has produced this study with an independent and unbiased analysis. The values derived and opinions presented in this study are based on publicly available information and certain assumptions that Brand Finance used where such data was deficient or unclear. Brand Finance accepts no responsibility and will not be liable in the event that the publicly available information relied upon is subsequently found to be inaccurate. The opinions and financial analysis expressed in the study are not to be construed as providing investment or business advice. Brand Finance does not intend the study to be relied upon for any reason and excludes all liability to any body, government, or organisation.

The data presented in this study form part of Brand Finance's proprietary database, are provided for the benefit of the media, and are not to be used in part or in full for any commercial or technical purpose without written permission from Brand Finance.

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