Airline Branding and Its Importance

Airlines · 7 min read · Aug 16, 2022
airline branding

Airline branding

What does branding mean?

A brand is an item, service, or philosophy that stands out from the crowd. This makes it simple to convey and promote in general. Branding is the process of creating and promoting a trademark, attributes, and identity.

How does branding impact the buyer’s choice?

Which is your favorite car make? When you read that question, your mind immediately comes up with a model—perhaps one you’ve driven or one for which you’ve seen several commercials on TV, billboards, or social media.

You adore this automobile because of its dependability and appealing features. Assume your dream car is currently out of your price range. You can only afford midrange models.

When you go to the dealerships in search of a car within your price bracket, you have two options: one from the exact same car brand that manufactures your favorite car and one from another brand.

The likelihood that you will select a car made by your preferred automaker is higher. A reputable brand serves as the foundation for trust between marketers and customers. You may expect to influence consumers’ purchasing decisions from this point forward.

All it takes to gain control of the decision-making process is for people to be drawn to and intrigued by your brand.

What comes to your mind when we say “cheap air travel”? If you are from Europe, your mind would say Ryan Air or EasyJet.

If you are from the United States, it may say “Southwest Airlines“. Similarly, if you hear “luxury long-haul air travel“, the first choice that comes to your mind could be Emirates, Qatar Airways, Etihad, British Airways, United Airlines, or any luxury airline from your region.

No matter how luxurious and exquisite an experience a carrier can provide, without a name, it will be impossible to build a long-term and strong business in the future in a highly competitive market.

A representation of brand identity building: a brand identity book next to a keyboard on a desk.

How does branding work in the airline industry?

Branding is essential for an airline to be heard. It’s a process that begins even before the final customer boards the plane. Airline marketing and branding try to attract attention developed through various means, including above-the-line advertising and word-of-mouth popularity.

Airport check-in units, websites, lounge areas, and banners greet passengers as they board, and each symbolizes an opportunity to engage and foster community.

The first consideration when creating an airline brand project is how the customers should perceive the name. To put it another way, the design agency must take the time to focus on the specific characteristics that will demonstrate to clients that they can rely on the name.

The next critical stage is getting your brand’s message out to the right people at the right time. A Ferrari, for example, would not be advertised on television because owners and potential owners of high-end sports cars spend little to no time in front of the television.

Here’s a well-known example from the global airline industry to help you understand the concept and method of airline branding.

Qatar Airways

Qatar Airways, one of the world’s top long-haul luxury legacy carriers from the Middle East, offers travelers a wide range of exciting facilities and a completely remarkable flying experience, most prominently in their premier first class lounge on the deluxe wide-body A350, A380, and B777 planes.

On both sides of the fuselage, the words “Qatar Airways” are inscribed in Arabic and English, and the engine cowlings are adorned with the airline’s signature logo, the Arabian oryx, the state of Qatar’s national animal.

Qatar Airways has a distinct branding theme. It perfectly embodies swift motion, making it an ideal fit for the concept of the challenger brand.

The coloration that prevails in the aesthetic of the emblem is not identical to that of the Qatari national flag, though it is very comparable. The actual appearance of the logo is unique due to the choice of the animal and the fashion in which the oryx is depicted.

The motif palette and branding can be found everywhere, from the plush cabin seats to the cutlery and amenity pouches; from the cabin atmosphere to the wing tips; from the cabin staff attire to the in-flight entertainment system.

Even the word “QATAR” emblazoned on the belly of the airplane represents a Qatar Airways plane flying above your head.

The FIFA World Cup 2022 will be held in Qatar, and the airline is spending extensively to promote the event. Qatar Airways decorated B777s in the tournament’s official livery in order to welcome the FIFA World Cup crowd on board.

Qatar Airways airplane lively with airline branding: oryx on the tail and engines of an aircraft.

Things to consider for a brand image

Airlines must now invest in branding since it is a need due to the intense rivalry in the aviation sector. For an airline to succeed, branding in aviation is essential.

See, it seems like every flight experience is quite similar. If you don’t explain why you should be a traveler’s first pick, they will assume that flights with you will be dull and only leave them with jet lag.

Did you know? 35% of a consumer’s decision to fly is influenced by factors other than price and whether or not their airplane departs and arrives on time.

Here’s your checklist.


Regional and national airlines may choose a color scheme that reflects their nationalism, perhaps by using the colors of their respective flags. Warm, vibrant colors exude a welcoming aura. They convey a sense of trust.


In your brand, you should use a memorable and significant emblem. The Arabian onyx, Qatar’s national animal, and its association with speed can be seen in the Qatar Airways example above. Another well-known example is Qantas, which uses the kangaroo as its logo.

The “Speedmark” ribbon from the British Airways logo, which stands for speed, power, and safety, is attached to all of the airline’s aircraft. The Union Jack colors used in the logo are supplemented by plane tails painted in the styling of the British flag, which sounds patriotic and conveys the importance of the company’s ancestry and history.

The first published American Airlines logo, designed by Goodrich Murphy, showcased a white eagle with wings stretched aloft. Two large red “A”s were situated on either side of the bird, which was encased in a solid blue ring.

The eagle was placed on the globe to illustrate the company’s dominance and limitless optimism. The new logo for the company depicts an eagle’s head with two wings, one red and one blue. The logo represents self-sufficiency and a goal-oriented effort.

Alaska Airlines branding livery on a plane: a kangaroo on an aircraft's tail.


Some aircraft with generic corporate logo brands are more striking than others. Ever more artistic liveries are appearing on aircraft, some of them are comical, fascinating, or even bizarre. They are distinct amid a sea of similarities.

Hawaiian Airlines aircraft have had the visage of Pualani on their tail fins. Millions of visitors have been welcomed to Hawaii’s tropical island paradise by the beaming “Flower of the Sky,” which has retained a symbol of Hawaiian generosity and heritage.

To symbolize the spirit of aloha and the cordial welcome that Hawaiian Airlines extends to each and every one of its guests, a silver maile lei has been wrapped around the fuselage beneath Pualani.

Pop culture influences are one of the most frequent advertising grounds for airlines to color their planes. Before the release of “Incredibles 2” in 2018, Alaska Airlines got in on the action. Mr. Incredible, Elastigirl, and the rest of the Incredibles will join the well-known Alaska Airlines Eskimo, a staple of the airline’s liveries.

The illustrations on the cabin and exterior of the China Eastern Airlines jet created in collaboration with Pixar feature Buzz, Woody, Jessie, and the rest of the “Toy Story” cast. The plane only flies to Shanghai, where there is a Toy Story Land at Shanghai Disneyland.

Kulula, a South African airline, was a finalist for the award for the most inventive livery scheme a few years ago with its Flying 101 style, which highlighted various components of the aircraft.

“Big cheese — Captain, My Captain!” is written in an arrowhead that points up on the cockpit’s exterior. A large arrow logo is even used to indicate the location of the “black box” flight data recorder. If there is a more effective or visually appealing method to comprehend what a plane is built of.

Hawaiian airlines aircraft with branding livery: Pualani face on the tailfin of an aircraft with Hawaiian written on the fuselage.


Another important factor in the world of airline branding is well-thought-through, catchy, and meaningful slogans. A slogan is a short sentence or even a couple of words in some cases which captures your brand’s idea in a striking and memorable fashion for marketing and advertising purposes.

However, a slogan is not necessarily something that sticks for life, as trends and travelers change, so will the airline mottos. More often than not, airlines change their slogans a couple of times through a decade, or in some cases even every year throughout the years of operation. The reason for that could be some major events in the world or the aviation industry, changes in the business operations of an airline, or simply disassociation from damaging situations.

A good example of an airline slogan changing with a major global event is Virgin Atlantic. Their new slogan proclaims “See the world differently” in response to a recovering post-Covid travel industry that is entering a new revival era.

The meaning behind their slogan is to celebrate the diversity of the airline’s crew and passengers alike and to encourage them to be their best unique selves in the air and on the ground. Their new campaign is crowned by a beautiful ad portraying a variety of different people at an airport boarding a flight:

Final thoughts

As the competition in today’s aviation industry is getting tough, an airline without a solid name and image might find it hard to prosper and attract customers.

That’s why carrying out branding campaigns correctly should be at the top of the priority list for every airline. The branding projects including livery, logos, slogans, color schemes, and other aspects play a great role in creating stronger brand awareness and encouraging future passengers to trust you over other carriers.


What is branding for airlines?

The basic goal of airline branding is to provide customers with a sense of security and comfort. The core of their company is the luxury, ease, and value they provide. An eye-catching logo, stylish liveries, and a strong brand presence across the whole sector make up airline branding and help the brand stand out among competitors.

How important is branding in the airline business?

The branding of a particular airline distinguishes its offerings from those of competing carriers. For customers, corporations, and society as a whole, branding is more important in today’s competition. Branding is essential for product identification, differentiation, marketing, demand creation, and awareness.

What is the best airline brand?

In terms of the most coveted airline brand globally, Delta maintains its top position as carriers start their COVID-19 comeback. According to a US$7.3 billion assessment, Delta continues to be the most valued airline in the world.

Who did IndiGo Airlines branding?

In 2006, InterGlobe Enterprises’ Rakesh Gangwal and Rahul Bhatia created IndiGo as a private company. InterGlobe purchased a 51.12% stake in IndiGo, while Gangwal’s Virginia-based Caelum Investments kept a 47.88% stake.

Want to read more like this?

Enter your email and get curated content straight to your inbox!

Thank your for your subscription.

You are already subscribed to this newsletter.

Jet pilot @NASA

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recent posts

Why are airlines allowed to overbook

Why Are Airlines Allowed to Overbook?

Airlines · 5 min read

Air travel emerged as the safest mode of transportation as a result of increasing competition and the advent of low-cost carriers push them in the struggle to generate revenue. Overbooking flights is a method used to boost revenue.

Apr 29, 2024
Best Airlines for Travelling with Family

Fly Stress-Free with Kids: The Best Airline for Family Travel

Airlines · 2 min read

Whether you are planning a trip or just dreaming of one, check our recommendations for the best airlines to fly to Japan!

Oct 04, 2023
Best First-Class Lounges in Europe

First-Class Sanctuaries: The Best Airport Lounges in Europe

Airlines · 2 min read

Whether you are planning a trip or just dreaming of one, check our recommendations for the best airlines to fly to Japan!

Oct 03, 2023

Start learning from the best minds now

  • Check your knowledge with quizzes
  • Pre-recorded certified courses
  • Study on different devices
  • Virtual classes/Live sessions
  • Pre-recorded Aviation management courses
  • Obtain Aeroclass Certificate
Get Started Today