Top 10 most valuable airline brands for 2023: rankings and insights

planes of different airlines are waiting for their passengers in Domodedovo airport

Welcome to the comprehensive guide of the Top 10 most valuable airline brands for 2023 according to Brand Finance, based on brand revenue and strength. 

In this carefully curated list, we will be counting down from the 10th position up to the overall champion, unveiling the industry’s most esteemed brands along the way and comparing their fortunes via their showing in last year’s list. 

Prepare to discover the airlines that have secured their positions based on their exceptional value and reputation in the aviation industry. 

10. Qatar Airways 

Qatar Airways is experiencing remarkable growth as it becomes the second most valuable Middle Eastern brand, following Emirates. With a current valuation of US$2.5 billion, the airline’s brand value surged by 23% in 2023 and went up from 17th place in last year’s list to 10th this year. Celebrating its 25th anniversary, Qatar Airways has not only recovered from pandemic-induced restrictions with aplomb but has now gone on to exceed its pre-pandemic brand valuation of US$2.3 billion. 

The airline gained significant prominence during the World Cup, serving as the flag carrier of Qatar and therefore an obvious choice for transportation among visitors and officials attending the event. Qatar Airways continues to earn high praise from customers and key stakeholders in the industry due to its young fleet of aircraft and impeccable service standards. 

M101Studio / Shutterstock 

9. Air Canada 

Air Canada, Canada’s flag carrier, has secured 9th place this year, experiencing a drop from its 6th position in the previous year. Nonetheless, the airline’s brand value has still managed to grow by 3% compared to last year, bringing its worth to US$2.6 billion. 

Heather Dunbar / Shutterstock 

8. Air China 

Air China, the 3rd largest carrier in China, has maintained its position at 8th place in the list, while experiencing an impressive 9% growth in brand value, taking it to US$2.6 billion. 

TonyV3112 / Shutterstock 

7. China Eastern 

China Eastern has climbed three places this year, moving from 11th position to 7th. Furthermore, the airline has witnessed an impressive 26% growth in brand value, taking it to US$2.9 billion. 

rafapress / Shutterstock

6. China Southern 

China Southern has experienced a significant surge, with its brand value skyrocketing by 39% to reach an impressive US$3.2 billion. This remarkable growth has propelled the airline from the 9th position in last year’s list up to 6th.  

The relaxation of China’s stringent COVID regulations has played a pivotal role in this upward trajectory. Leveraging this newfound flexibility, China Southern has expanded its international capacity by a staggering 44% and has already recovered to over 25% of its pre-COVID capacity levels. With ongoing COVID restrictions still in place, there remains substantial potential for further growth, not only for China Southern but also for other Chinese airlines in the market. 

Huy Thoai / Shutterstock 

5. Southwest Airlines 

Southwest Airlines, a prominent United States (US)-based airline, holds the distinction of being the world’s largest low-cost carrier. Despite being the only airline on our list to experience a decline in brand value, dropping by -5% compared to last year, it has managed to maintain its position at the 5th spot with a valuation of US$4.7 billion. 

Carlos E. Santa Maria / Shutterstock 

4. Emirates 

Emirates, the most valuable airline in the Middle East, has witnessed a 2% increase in its brand value, reaching an impressive value of US$5.1 billion and retaining the 4th spot in the list from last year. The airline has played a pivotal role in driving the recovery of travel and tourism to the United Arab Emirates (UAE). 

Rebius / Shutterstock 

3. United Airlines 

United Airlines, the second-largest airline in the US, has witnessed a remarkable growth of 42% in its brand value this year, reaching an impressive US$7.8 billion. This surge can be attributed to the airline’s rapid recovery from the impact of COVID, which has resulted in higher revenue forecasts. Despite its substantial growth, though, United Airlines has maintained its position with the same spot in the list as last year. 

Susan B Sheldon / Shutterstock 

2. American Airlines 

American Airlines, which holds the title of the world’s largest airline in terms of fleet size, scheduled passengers carried and revenue passenger miles, boasts an impressive brand value of US$8.5 billion. This valuation remains consistent with last year, securing the airline’s position in the 2nd spot on the list once again. Notably, American Airlines has experienced a significant 36% growth in brand value. 

Samuel Ponce / Shutterstock 

Top 1 airline brand – Delta 

Delta, one of the oldest airlines in the world, has once again claimed the title of the world’s most valuable airline brand, with a remarkable 22% increase in brand value, totaling US$8.9 billion.  

This growth can be attributed to several pivotal decisions made by Delta, including the establishment of a strategic partnership and joint venture with LATAM Airlines Group. Furthermore, Delta has announced its intention to invest in new aircraft, exemplified by orders placed for 100 Airbus A220-300 and 20 Boeing 737 MAX 10 aircraft. 

EQRoy / Shutterstock 
Position in 2022 Position in 2023 Brand Name Country Brand Value in 2023 Brand Value Change from Last Year 
Delta United States $8,922 billion +22% 
American Airlines United States $8,488 billion +36% 
United Airlines United States $7,782 billion +42% 
Emirates United Arab Emirates $5,104 billion +2% 
Southwest Airlines United States $4,703 billion -5% 
China Southern China $3,229 billion +39% 
11 China Eastern China $2,852 billion +26% 
Air China China $2,603 billion +9% 
Air Canada Canada $2,584 billion +3% 
10 17 Qatar Airways Qatar $2,470 billion +23% 
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