AirlineRatings.com, the world’s only safety and product rating website, which was launched in June 2013, has announced its top twenty safest airlines and top ten safest low cost airlines for 2016 from the 407 it monitors.
Top of the list for the third year is Australia’s Qantas, which has a fatality free record in the jet era – an extraordinary record. Making up the remainder of the top twenty in alphabetical order are: Air New Zealand, Alaska Airlines, All Nippon Airlines, American Airlines, Cathay Pacific Airways, Emirates, Etihad Airways, EVA Air, Finnair, Hawaiian Airlines, Japan Airlines, KLM, Lufthansa, Scandinavian Airline System, Singapore Airlines, Swiss, United Airlines, Virgin Atlantic and Virgin Australia.
AirlineRatings.com’s rating system takes into account a range of factors related to audits from aviation’s governing bodies and lead associations as well as government audits and the airline’s fatality record. AirlineRating.com’s editorial team, one of the world’s most awarded and experienced, also examined each airline’s operational history, incident records and operational excellence to arrive at its top twenty safest airlines.
The AirlineRatings.com top twenty have always been at the forefront of safety innovation and launching of new aircraft and these airlines have become a byword for excellence. Responding to public interest, the AirlineRatings.com editors also identified their top ten safest low cost airlines.
They are in alphabetical order: Aer Lingus, Flybe, HK Express, Jetblue, Jetstar Australia, Thomas Cook, TUI Fly, Virgin America, Volaris and Westjet.
Unlike a number of low cost carriers, these airlines have all passed the stringent International Air Transport Association Operational Safety Audit (IOSA) and have excellent safety records.
Of the 407 airlines surveyed, 148 have the top seven-star safety ranking but almost 50 have just three stars or less. There are 10 airlines with only one star and these airlines are from Indonesia, Nepal and Surinam.
In selecting Qantas as the world’s safest airline AirlineRatings.com editors noted that over its 95-year history the world’s oldest continuously operating airline has amassed an extraordinary record of firsts in operations and safety and is now accepted as the industry’s most experienced carrier.
The Australian airline has been a leader in: the development of the Future Air Navigation System; the Flight Data Recorder to monitor plane and later crew performance; automatic landings using Global Navigation Satellite System as well as precision approaches around mountains in cloud using RNP. Qantas was the lead airline with real time monitoring of its engines across its fleet using satellite communications, which has enabled the airline to detect problems before they become a major safety issue.
Last year was a disturbing year for airline safety with some tragic and bizarre accidents such as the high profile GermanWings and Metrojet disasters. However according to Aviation-Safety.net data, the 16 accidents in 2015 with 560 fatalities were below the 10-year average of 31 accidents and 714 fatalities. Last year was also a significant improvement over 2014 when there were 21 fatal accidents with 986 fatalities.
Balancing these numbers the world’s airlines carried a record 3.6 billion passengers on 34 million flights in 2015.
Flashback 50 years and there were a staggering 87 crashes killing 1,597 when airlines carried only 141 million passengers – 5 per cent of today’s number.