Only three airlines in the GCC region – Emirates, Qatar Airways and SAUDIA – figure in the list of top 50 airline brands in 2023, which was published by Brand Finance, the world’s leading brand valuation consultancy.
The UAE’s national carrier Emirates, whose brand value up 2% to $5.1 billion in 2023, has retained its position as the most valuable brand in the Middle East, and fourth most valuable airline brand globally, Brand Finance said.
The airline brand played a key role in facilitating the rebound in travel and tourism to the UAE. The Emirates brand is intricately tied to the UAE and Dubai nation brand and continues to contribute to building these perceptions globally.
Given the importance of Emirates, there continues to be significant investment behind the brand and business which should help it reclaim its Brand strength rating of AAA in the near term. Its current Brand Strength is 76.9 (AA+), the report said.
The brand value of Qatar Airways, the official airline for 2022 FIFA World Cup, has gone up by 23% to $2.5 billion and was ranked 10th in the list of 50 top brand airlines for 2023. The airline won plaudits for effectively supporting the FIFA World Cup and delivering on its promise for an enhanced experience for travellers to the mega-event.
Qatar Airways continues to be held in very high regard by customers and other key industry stakeholders because of its relatively young aircraft fleet, high standards of service, and recognition that it was one of the few global airlines to continue flying throughout the pandemic.
It has further consolidated its reputation as a leading airline which is set to continue as Qatar looks to further boost its leisure and business tourism industry.
Qatar Airways played a very high-profile role in the World Cup, with the flag carrier of Qatar an obvious transportation option for visitors, players, and officials for the event. Qatar Airways continues to be held in very high regard by customers and other key industry stakeholders because of its relatively young aircraft fleet, high standards of service, and recognition that it was one of the few global airlines to continue flying throughout the pandemic. It has further consolidated its reputation as a leading airline which is set to continue as Qatar looks to further boost its leisure and business tourism industry.
The brand value of Saudi Arabia’s national carrier SAUDIA increased 14% year-on-year to $651 million, further securing itself as a leading Middle Eastern airline brand. It is the second fastest growing airline brand in the region as it continues to play a vital role to support the Kingdom’s ambitious travel and tourism targets by 2030.
SAUDIA, which ascended one place – from 39th in 2022 to 38th in 2023 – is in line with the country’s ‘Vision 2030’ plan, and significant investment is made in the airline. The country’s aviation infrastructure is likely to see SAUDIA continue its growth in the coming years.
The investment includes the continued purchase of state-of-the-art aircraft as well as contributing to sustainable tourism through the agreement to purchase up to 100 electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) jets. As the flag carrier for the Kingdom, it also plays a key role in contributing to building Saudi Soft Power and Nation Brand Value.
“SAUDIA has invested heavily in optimising its operations to improve customer experience to reflect the brands unique position as the flag carrier and the role it must play to build the Kingdom’s perceptions globally,” Brand Finance said.
The brand is also investing in building its awareness and familiarity in key international markets as evidenced by its investments in Formula 1 (Official Airline of the Aston Martin Aramco Cognizant Formula One Team) and Formula E (Official Airline Partner).