At the moment most of the countries have a national airline which represents them wherever it flies. However, one of the biggest economies in the world – the United States does not have a flag carrier of their own. What are the reasons behind it?
For the beginning, what actually the national airline means? Usually, it stands for an aviation company which is mainly owned by the state. It represents the country and its traditions in one or another way.
One of the best examples could be Singaporean or South Africa’s airlines.
Singapore airlines are mainly owned by Singapore’s government. But this is not the only feature what makes in national. Every traveler can feel the spirit of Singapore way before even takeoff. Passengers are always served traditional dishes and flight attendants wear dresses which remind of their country’s traditional characters.
Unlikely Singapore airlines, South Africa’s national carrier does not concentrate on the meals served. They rather chose a more discrete way to express their nature. South African Airways has interiors decorated with patterns and colors representing the landscapes of Africa.
The airlines head of marketing says “we understand that we represent people’s first and lasting impressions of South Africa.”
However, most of the European countries have gotten rid of national airlines. A similar story is with the United States. So even though there are American Airlines and United Airlines which might imply to be national carriers, they are not. They do have traditional red and blue colors in their branding and the names are very relatable to their national heritage, these are just privately or semi-privately owned companies which are willing to express the respect to the country they are established in.
Before World War II the United States used to have a national airline, Pan American Airlines. After hitting huge success, Pan Am went under several economic downturns before declaring bankruptcy in 1991.