Flag Carriers as a Symbol of Honor: Between Past and Present

Most of the world’s countries have their flag carriers for financial and national duties. A flag carrier is considered an international representative of a country as it stands as a symbol of pride. Therefore, some passengers are keen to ride the flag carrier of their countries as it reflects their identity. However, what is the history of flag carriers?

History of Flag Carriers:

The term “flag carrier” emerged when countries established state-owned airline companies. However, because of the high cost of running such companies, the governments took the initiative to support these companies financially. At this time, there were many airline companies entirely owned by governments. However, a flag carrier can be subsidized or owned by the country, and it has preferential rights or privileges by the government for international operations. In the innovation industry, flag carriers have both financial and symbolic importance. Thus, most countries of the world have their flag carriers.

Countries have Flag Carriers:

British Airways

Most countries have their flag carriers representing their identity and nationalism worldwide. Examples of these flag carriers are:

  • Air France
  • Egyptair
  • Oman Air
  • Qatar Airways

However, nowadays, it is not conditionally an airline owned or subsidized by a country. The literal meaning of a flag carrier is an airline carrying its country’s flag worldwide. Now, it can be an airline the country supports to be its flag carrier. For example, the British Kingdom does not own British Airways, but it carries the British flag all over the world. The people recognize it as the British flag carrier. However, some countries do not have a flag carrier but have two, like the United Arab Emirates, but why?

The UAE Has Two Flag Carriers:

If a flag carrier is a symbol of identity and pride, does having two change the equation? The answer to this question is that it does not change the equation this much, but it is more like meeting the country’s needs. Having a two-flag carrier is normal for a country, such as the UAE, in this geopolitical situation. The two Flag carriers are Emirates, the first flag carrier based in Dubai, and Etihad Airways, the second flag carrier based in Abu Dhabi. The royal family established both airlines. Though the UAE has two flag carriers, some of the countries do not have any, such as the US, but why?

The US has no Flag Carrier:

It is true that now the United States of America has no flag carrier, but this has not been the case in the past. In the past, the US had Pan Am, the unofficial US flag carrier in the 20th century. However, running an airline costs a lot. Pan Am could not stand the market and went bankrupt in 1991. Since then, the US has not had a flag carrier, though it has major international airlines, such as American Airlines. Regardless of the current situation of the flag carriers, what are the expectations for their future?

The Future of Flag Carriers:

As we live in the era of technology, predicting the future of something is not a wise move. However, the competition in the aviation market is so fierce, and running an airline company is not a joke. Seeking honor and pride in running an airline is great. However, the competition in the market knows nothing about honor and pride. Maybe, some of the flag carriers will prosper, and some of them will vanish. This thing only time can tell.


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