Home » Aviation: Brand Finance names Africa’s biggest Airline, Ethiopian Airlines as fastest-growing brand globally, up 79%, and Delta most valuable airline brand as Turkish Airlines, becomes world’s 8th-strongest airline brand

Aviation: Brand Finance names Africa’s biggest Airline, Ethiopian Airlines as fastest-growing brand globally, up 79%, and Delta most valuable airline brand as Turkish Airlines, becomes world’s 8th-strongest airline brand

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World’s leading brand valuation consultancy firm, Brand Finance, has ranked Africa’s biggest and most profitable airline, Ethiopian Airlines as the fastest-growing brand globally, up by 79%.

The airline also emerged as Africa’s busiest airline by seat with 21,330,678 seats as at May 2023, according to aviation analyst company, cirium.com.

The report published by Brand Finance says Ethiopian Airlines (brand value up 79% to US$498 million) and now the continent’s largest airline brand.

The brand faces significant challenges from Middle Eastern airline brands, with Qatar Airways (brand value up 23% to US$2.5 billion) a significant challenger.

READ: Aviation: Africa’ largest airline Ethiopian Airlines opens 6th route in North America as it welcomes Atlanta to its network

Ethiopian Airlines is working to launch a Nigerian flagged brand, a large opportunity given that Nigeria does not currently have a flagship carrier. As part of the proposed plans, the airline plans to roughly double the number of aircraft that it operates, from 140 to more than 270 over the next twelve years.

Other fast-growing brands include:
• The brand value of Vueling (brand value up 44% to US$527 million) has grown due to the rapid recovery of the Spanish domestic market and routes to Latin America, which have expanded so far as to exceed pre-COVID levels.
• United Airlines (brand value up 42% to US$7.8 billion) has grown due to higher revenue forecasts stemming from the airline’s rapid recovery from
COVID. The airline forecasts strong capacity growth and anticipates growing demand as air fares drop.
• China Southern (brand value up 39% to US$3.2 billion) has grown due to China relaxing its strict COVID regulations. The airline was able to increase
international capacity by 44% and has recovered to over 25% capacity compared to pre-COVID levels.


Continuing COVID restrictions mean that there remains significant headroom for China Southern to grow along with other Chinese airlines.

Also, National flag carrier Turkish Airlines now ranks as the world’s eighth-strongest airline brand with 78.1 points, according to a survey by a leading independent valuation and strategy consultancy.

Rising like a star, Turkish Airlines jumped 23 places from a year ago right into the top 10, the Brand Finance survey showed.

READ: Aviation: The Kings Of Africa? Ethiopian Airlines serves more Countries in Africa than any other Carrier

Commenting on the report, Turkish Airlines Chairperson Ahmet Bolat on Tuesday said, “With the responsibility of being our country’s national flag carrier and the power of being the airline that flies to more countries than any other airline in the world, we will continue to propel our brand to many more successes.”

Japan’s All Nippon Airways (ANA) was the strongest airline brand this year with 85 points. The airline resumed international flights in 2022 after a two-year hiatus because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

It was followed by Korean Air and Malaysia’s budget airline AirAsia, the survey showed.

Established in 1933 with a fleet of five aircraft, Turkish Airlines currently boasts a fleet of 416 (passenger and cargo) aircraft flying to 344 worldwide destinations, including 291 international and 53 domestic.

Having calculated brands’ financial worth for over 20 years, Brand Finance now values 5,000 brands every year.

Meanwhile, Brand Finance announced that U.S.-based Delta Airlines is once again the world’s most valuable brand for 2023 with a brand value of $8.9 billion, up 22% year-on-year.

“The pandemic may have grounded airplanes, but it couldn’t stop people from dreaming of travel. As the world reopens, airlines are poised to take off, with their brand values rising quickly,” said Brand Finance Director Savio D’Souza.

The global airline industry is expected to recover in 2023, with revenues reaching $779 billion and a net profit of $4.7 billion, read the survey.

Turkish Airlines ranked the 17th most-valuable airline brand this year, moving up from 19th in 2022 thanks to a 26% jump in its brand value.

According to cirium.com, global airlines that currently ignore Africa might be missing out on a large opportunity. Africa is home to over a billion people, and many of them live in fast-growing, youthful countries with valuable natural resources.

Airlines that serve Africa have a large customer base, with oil and gas companies being major clients. The continent is also rich in tourist traffic, especially in northern African countries that are just a short flight away from Europe or the Middle East. Additionally, many people travel to Africa to visit friends and family. Staff from International organizations like the World Bank also fly to and from Africa often.

What is Africa’s largest airline? This is currently Ethiopian Airlines, according to data from our airline planning system, Cirium Diio. Ethiopian Airlines has experienced tremendous success and has established Addis Ababa as a significant global aviation hub that is growing rapidly.

Air France/KLM is currently the largest foreign airline serving Africa, with Transavia having a large presence in North Africa. However, the airline’s African footprint is mostly concentrated in cities that were once part of the former French and Dutch colonial empires. Other leading players on the continent include Emirates and other Gulf carriers.

In South Africa, Safair has become the largest carrier after the bankruptcy and downsizing of South African Airways. Surprisingly, despite being Africa’s most populous country and the seventh most populous in the world, Nigeria doesn’t have any large airlines. The largest one is Air Peace, which only operates a few international routes, with just one of them outside of Africa, to Mumbai.

Overall, airlines that ignore Africa could be missing out on a wealth of opportunities. From valuable natural resources to growing populations and tourist traffic, the continent has a lot to offer. So, it’s important for airlines to take notice and consider expanding their services to this often-overlooked region of the world.

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