Independent brand valuation consultancy Brand Finance has published its annual Brand Finance Airlines 50 2022 ranking.

Within it, Dubai-based carrier Emirates has been ranked as the fourth most valuable airline brand in the world. The consultancy added that brand value is gauged as the net economic benefit a brand owner would achieve by licensing the brand in the open market. It estimated Emirates’ brand value at nearly US$5 billion.

Emirates is the only Middle East carrier to be featured in the top 10 most valuable airline brands in the world – a list that is topped by Delta.

Delta retained its top position as the world’s most valuable airline, with a brand value up 27 per cent to US$7.3 billion.

Delta has invested in airlines across the globe like Aeromexico (brand value up 42 per cent to US$0.3 billion), Virgin Atlantic (brand value up 37 per cent to US$0.4 billion), Korean Air (brand value up 15 per cent to US$1.3 billion) and China Eastern (brand value up 4 per cent to US$2.3 billion).

Apart from brand value, Brand Finance also evaluated airlines on the basis of their brand strength. Brand strength, it said, is the efficacy of a brand’s performance on intangible measures relative to its competitors. Brand Finance also determines the relative strength of brands through a balanced scorecard of metrics evaluating marketing investment, stakeholder equity, and business performance.

Canadian airline WestJet (brand value up 22 per cent to US$0.6 billion) is the strongest airline brand in the world with a Brand Strength Index (BSI) of 84 out of 100 and a corresponding AAA- brand rating.

Meanwhile, Emirates was ranked eighth on the list of airline brands in terms of its strength.

Brand Finance also ranked airlines on the basis of the rate at which they are growing. Spanish carrier Iberia is the fastest growing airline brand in the ranking with a 36 per cent growth in brand value, ahead of Singapore Airlines, which increased brand value by just under 36 per cent to US$2 billion.

Saudia (brand value up 13 per cent to US$0.5 billion) is the fastest growing airline in the Middle East. As part of Vision 2030, Saudi Arabia plans to increase the number of tourists to 100 million and the number of religious visitors to 30 million a year by 2030. There are numerous initiatives underway at Saudia including it increasing the number of routes its serves and increasing the size of its fleet at its new Jeddah Hub airport.