Chinese airline brand values are taking off as they spread their wings with greater growth beyond the domestic market, said a latest report by Brand Finance, the world's leading independent brand valuation and strategy consultancy.
China Southern (up 10 percent to 4.1 billion U.S. dollars) remains the Chinese brand leader, ahead of China Eastern (up 21 percent to 3.8 billion dollars), and Air China (up 19 percent to 3.4 billion dollars). In a reflection of the eastward-movement of the global airline business, British Airways (down 6 percent to 3.5 billion dollars) fell down the ranking to 8th place, behind two of the Chinese brands and only narrowly ahead of Air China, said Brand Finance.
Meanwhile, American Airlines remains the world's most valuable airline brand, despite its brand value falling by 7 percent to 9.1 billion dollars. The other big, full service, US airlines each endured bumpy skies, including second-ranked Delta (down 6 percent to 8.7 billion dollars) and third-ranked United Airlines (down 2 percent to 7 billion dollars).
The trio of big American airlines have each failed to grow their brand values as they suffered from a series of larger macro-economic challenges in a post-consolidation phase. In addition, they have been beset by higher fuel costs and a number of flight cancellations caused by storms.
Meanwhile, the rise of social media has allowed unhappy customers to share a number of stories that have spread virally, but this does not appear to be causing significant long-term damage to airline brands.
David Haigh, CEO of Brand Finance, said in a press release that customers are making decisions about airline brands on a very narrow range of factors: price, routing, and schedules.
"Despite big viral news stories which gained media attention globally affecting several brands, in the airline business, it is reliability on delivering core services that customers find key in taking purchasing decisions."
"Consequently, the Chinese brands are the big winners in this area as they have been able to grow their brands by giving customers greater confidence in their dependability and safety as they grow alongside the Chinese economy."