Measuring the safest airline

By | Category: Travel tips & opinions

Qantas_3What is a safe airline? The glib answer is one that doesn’t crash.

In determining safety, AirlineRatings.com – the world’s only safety and product rating website – has announced its top twenty safest airlines and top ten safest low cost airlines for 2016 from the 407 airlines it monitors.

Top of the list for the third year is Australia’s Qantas which has a fatality free record in the jet era. Making up the remainder of the top twenty in alphabetical order are: Air New Zealand, Alaska Airlines, All Nippon, American, Cathay Pacific, Emirates, Etihad, EVA Air, Finnair, Hawaiian, JAL, KLM, Lufthansa, SAS, Singapore, Swiss, United, Virgin Atlantic and Virgin America.

I come back to my original question. What does make a safe airline? 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. The website’s editorial team also examined each airline’s operational history, incident records and operational excellence to arrive at its top twenty safest airlines.

The company has also listed their top ten safest low cost airlines. Again, in alphabetical order, they are Aer Lingus, Flybe, HK Express, Jetblue, Jeststar Australia, Thomas Cook, TUI Fly, Virgin America, Volaris and Westjet.

The company says that 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.

Qantas won because over its 95-year history the world’s oldest continuously operating airline has amassed an extra noted ordinary record of firsts in operations and safety and is now accepted as the industry’s most experienced carrier. It 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.

Does this list mean that airlines not on the list are unsafe like BA, EasyJet and Ryanair? Certainly not. It just means that something else stopped them getting into the top 20.

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