Ryanair's recent profit drop underlines how tough the airline sector is currently. It’s a good time to have a closer look at one airline whose consumer perception is standing up well in a highly competitive industry – Emirates.
Our recent YouGov BrandIndex brand rankings point towards the success the high-end airline has enjoyed over the past 12 months.
In several markets, the brand improved compared to last year. Naturally, it is most dominant in the UAE, where it is the top brand overall, beating out global behemoths such as Apple or Facebook.
But its expansion and ambition has been reflected elsewhere. In the US, our brand tracking data indicates that last year Emirates was the most improved airline brand, while in Australia it ranks second in the overall list behind home-grown giant Qantas.
In the UK, Emirates has outstripped British Airways and Virgin Atlantic in terms of buzz score (whether people have heard something positive about the brand) over the last year, and is currently the best performing company in the airline sector by this particular measure.
What’s more, Emirates is now ahead of British Airways in terms of whether a brand provides value for money, and is the best performing of the high-end airlines on this front. While part of this may be a result of BA dropping the ball in a few areas – such as its decision to scrap free sandwiches on its short-haul flights and threats of industrial action – Emirates’ steadiness in a turbulent time is also a factor.
BA still holds the top position ahead of Emirates in terms of quality score, however. This suggests it is managing to hold on to some of its underlying brand strength among UK consumers for the time being at least. This is something that may take many years for Emirates to chip away at.
As Emirates continues to impress globally, more established rivals will look to tweak their offerings, and may look to appeal to different demographics to maintain market share.