Change Your Altitude

And the most valuable airline brand in the world is…


It has been released – the 2016 Brand Finance Global 500 report.

The organization ranks the 500 most valuable brands in the world and are evaluated to determine the most powerful—based on factors such as familiarity, loyalty, promotion, marketing investment, staff satisfaction and corporate reputation— and the most valuable monetarily.

While Disney was ranked as the most valuable brand in the world, in 2016 Emirates has been once again been ranked as the most valuable airline brand in the world. The airline came in at #171, a full 47 places above the next most valuable airline (Singapore Airlines).

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Its astounding that just 30 years after the airline was founded Emirates has been ranked as highly – and even more astounding that the airline first appeared on the list back in 2009. According to the report, the airline’s brand value grew 17% over last year to reach $7.7 billion.

In an official statement, Boutros Boutros, Divisional Senior Vice President Corporate Communications, Marketing & Brand for Emirates had this to say:

We invest strategically in building our brand and it is reflected in everything we do. We have differentiated the Emirates brand not only through our marketing and sponsorships initiatives, but also through our competitive combination of quality products and services, and technology-driven customer initiatives that our teams deliver everyday both on the ground and on board. We work hard to identify, anticipate, and meet the ever-changing needs of our diverse global audiences, as we firmly believe that this will position us to outperform in our industry now and in the future

The CEO of Brand Finance, David Haigh added that:

Emirates continues to soar, adding 17% to its brand value this year. Brand Finance’s analysis shows that Emirates is more popular than ever– its brand equity scores for consumer factors such as familiarity, consideration, preference, satisfaction and recommendation are up across the board. Emirates’ growth this year, which builds on impressive historic trends, suggests that by 2020 it could become the first Middle Eastern brand to enter the top 100 of our ranking

The airline is well known for investing heavily in their fleet renewal and inflight experience programs as well as crew training and recruitment regimes – but the airline also maintains an extremely heavy presence in global marketing, especially in sports. They have lucrative deals, naming and co-branding rights with top football clubs in virtually every major European league:

  • Real Madrid (La Liga – Spain)
  • Arsenal (Premier League – England)
  • Paris St Germain (Ligue 1 – France)
  • AC Milan (Serie A – Italy)
  • Sport Lisboa e Benfica (Primeira Ligua – Portugal)
  • Hamburger SV (Bundesliga – Germany)
  • Olympiacos FC (SuperLeague – Greece)

Now that’s some serious firepower in Europe.


Now add these international tournaments, just to name a few (there are too many to name all):

  • Rugby World Cup
  • HSBC Sevens World Series
  • US Open
  • BNP Paribas Open
  • ATP World Tour
  • Roland Garros (French Open)
  • Barcelona Open
  • Rogers Cup
  • LA Dodgers
  • Formula One
  • BMW International Open
  • Hong Kong Open
  • Australian Open
  • ICC
  • Royal Ascot
  • Melbourne Cup
  • Singapore Derby

So that’s rugby, football, golf, tennis, baseball, cricket, horse racing, formula one in 4 continents taken care of then.


The airline has to be the most prolific marketer in airline history. When you have the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, Mesut Ozil, Zlatan Ibravonomich, Andy Murray, Serena Williams, Tiger Woods, Sachin Tendaulkar and others sporting the same  “Fly Emirates” logo, people are going to take notice – hence their growth to the world’s most valuable airline brand and perhaps more pertinently – the world’s largest international airline by available seat kilometers flown (world’s biggest airline by fleet is American).

His Highness Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Chairman and Chief Executive, Emirates Airline & Group, sees sponsorship as vital in the airline’s marketing strategy. He said this almost 15 years ago:

We believe sponsorships are one of the best ways to connect with our passengers. They allow us to share and support their interests and to build a closer relationship with them.

Well, this is something that rings especially true to this day. And its remarkable to continue to watch the journey Emirates trailblazes for themselves and the industry as a whole.

Where to next for this generation’s Pan Am?




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