London-based independent brand valuation consultancy Brand Finance has named Russia’s flag carrier Aeroflot the world’s strongest airline brand.

The company’s Brand Strength Index (BSI) assesses the degree to which a company’s brand affects its commercial and operating activities as a means of evaluating the strength and effectiveness of its marketing efforts.

Among the criteria included in the assessment are the amount invested in the company’s marketing initiatives and the goodwill the brand has accrued with customers, staff and stakeholders. Brand Finance then looks at the impact of these criteria on companies’ business performance based on approximately 30 factors, which include: the size and average age the fleet, safety measures, number of employees, company investments, financial and operating results, customer loyalty and ratings from notable industry bodies including Skytrax and IATA (International Air Transport Association).

According to Brand Finance, American Airlines was the most valuable airline brand valued at US$9.8 billion – taking the top spot from Emirates, which has held the top spot for the past three years. Despite this, Aeroflot’s domestic brand equity, marketing investment, new fleet and the growing status of Russia as an aviation hub were determining factors in Aeroflot taking the top spot.

“Aeroflot is the world’s most powerful airline brand, with an AAA rating,” the company said in a press release. “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.”

Vitaly Saveliev, Aeroflot’s CEO, reiterated its dominant domestic position when speaking about the result. “This recognition reflects not just our 93-year legacy as the number one air carrier in the world’s biggest country, but also our best-in-class service offering on domestic and international routes, the youngest fleet of any major carrier globally, and of course our marketing efforts.”

Saveliev added that the airline is currently focusing on digitising Aeroflot from customer experience and management of logistics perspectives.

According to Brand Finance’s report, US carriers United, Delta and American Airlines are now the top three most valuable airline brands in the world.;