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Airline brands don’t usually show up in the list of global most valuable, loved or biggest brand rankings done by various agencies such as Interbrand and others. And yet, airlines are among the most high profile consumer brands that exist, and surely generate a lot of mainstream media attention, most of it these days about consumer frustrations with them.

Brand Finance, a global brand valuation and marketing consultancy, recently came out with its rankings of the top 20 most valuable airline brands, using its methodology where it uses the net present value of the estimated future cash flows attributable to the brand in question. The methodology is described in detail here.

Emirates, not surprisingly, rules the roost, topping out as the most valuable airline brand for a second year running, followed by Lufthansa and then Delta, which climbed up a rank this year. Delta, United, Southwest and American are the four U.S. brands on the list, and three Chinese airlines also make the top 20 list.

Rank Rank Brand Value ($ Millions) Brand Value ($ Millions)
2013 2012 Name 2013 2012
1 1 Emirates Airlines 4098 3700
2 2 Lufthansa 3638 3296
3 4 Delta 3289 3013
4 3 Singapore Airlines 3117 3218
5 6 United 2992 2763
6 5 China Southern Airlines 2752 2765
7 15 China Eastern Airlines 2484 1543
8 9 Air France 2457
9 8 Air China 2419 2395
10 10 Cathay Pacific 2313 2266
11 11 British Airways 2211 2011
12 7 ANA 2051 2448
13 12 Korean Air 2043 2003
14 17 Southwest 1950 1422
15 Japan Airlines 1850
16 14 Turkish Airlines 1800 1681
17 13 American Airlines 1767 1854
18 19 TAM Airlines 1450 1285
19 18 Aeroflot 1423 1308
20 20 KLM 1368 1278
Photo Credit: Tim Clark, CEO of Emirates Airlines, the most valuable airline two years running now.