Hard to tell what’s the most popular airline in the world, but Qatar Airways on Monday claimed the title “most-liked global airline on Facebook” after 8.2 million (and counting) social media users hit the “like” button on its page.
Qatar Airways did rank second to Cathay Pacific Airways for customer satisfaction in the 2014 Skytrax awards. Still, the Facebook likes represent four times the number of people who live in the Middle Eastern country.
The airline appears to have gotten a big social media boost from a Spanish soccer team. Six months ago, Qatar had just 4 million Facebook likes, the airline said in a Monday statement.
Then it teamed up with FC Barclona (which wears the airline’s name on its jerseys) and kicked off some contests and marketing ventures online.
Other factors that may have raised its profile: Qatar will host the FIFA World Cup in 2022, and on Monday it received the first of its fleet of new Airbus A350 XWBs.
By comparison (and it may not be a fair one, depending on when each airline started its Facebook page and how it markets it), Southwest Airlines has more than 4.5 million likes, American Airlines has more than 1.8 million likes, and Delta Air Line has more than 1.3 million likes.
And if you care about social media numbers, Yahoo earlier this month announced Southwest, United, Delta, American and US Airways were the five most-searched airlines on Yahoo in 2014.
No airlines are on the 100 most-followed Twitter users, a list led by Katy Perry (61.8 million) and Justin Bieber (58.1 million).