Which Airlines Are The World’s Safest?

As we move into 2020, aviation safety is still a hot topic thanks to the continued coverage of the Boeing 737 MAX groundings. If you’re a nervous flyer then worry no more, a list of the top safety-rated airlines in the world has just been published.

Airlineratings.com has released its official list of the safest airlines and once again, Qantas has found its way to the top spot. The Australian flag carrier previously won the award in 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017 as well as being a joint winner in 2018.

Qantas Dreamliner in flight
Qantas topped the list of the world’s safest airlines. Photo: Qantas

In 2018, the top spot was shared by 20 airlines as the website just couldn’t choose its top airline. This year marks Qantas’ seventh year in the top spot so if you’re nervous about getting on a plane then a holiday to Australia may be on the cards this year.

Deciding factors

Airlineratings.com examined over 405 airlines for several key factors to help determine their rankings. One of the key factors which decided an airline’s place on the list was the number of crashes and serious incidents throughout the year. The website said it did not look at smaller, minor incidents as these happen so frequently, they could not be used to determine overall safety.

The website also looked at pilot training, aviation audits as well as governmental audits, fleet age and the financial position of the airline. Geoffrey Thomas, Editor-in-chief of the Australian-based site commented that,

All airlines have incidents every day and many are aircraft manufacture issues, not airline operational problems,”. He continued that in making their selection for the top spot it was “the way the flight crew handles incidents that determines a good airline from an unsafe one”.

Qantas has not had a fatality in over 60 years and has been a major contributor to international safety standards. The Australian airline helped pioneer the Future Air Navigation System, enabling plane and crew performance to be monitored and recorded. It also helped develop the use of Global Navigation Satellite System for automatic landings. The real-time monitoring of aircraft engines was a major factor in the airline landing top spot as it has enabled the airline to prevent issues, rather than just react to them.

Air New Zealand Getty Image
Air New Zealand came in second place leaving ANA off the list. Photo: Getty Images

Who else made the list?

Behind Qantas, the rest of the top 20 list looks like this:

Air New Zealand were runners up, followed by EVA Air from Taiwan in third. Etihad came fourth followed by Qatar Airways, Singapore Airlines, Emirates, Alaska Airlines, Cathay Pacific Airways, Virgin Australia, Hawaiian Airlines, Virgin Atlantic Airlines, TAP Portugal, SAS, Royal Jordanian, Swiss, Finnair, Lufthansa and Aer Lingus. Finally, KLM crept in to take the 20th spot.

Who didn’t make the list?

Despite making the list in previous years, British Airways, ANA, American Airlines and United Airlines didn’t make this year’s top 20. According to Thomas, British Airways didn’t make the list due to their ageing fleet which has an average age of almost 14 years. As the airline is due to take delivery of new Boeing 787s this month, they may well be back in list next year.

British Airways jet in flight
British Airways missed out on the list due to their ageing fleet. Photo: British Airways

The other airlines have their own issues to sort. United missed out on a place after a report stating that two of its pilots were prevented from flying because they were drunk. The same issue was the downfall of American Airlines, Delta, JAL and ANA.

Editor-in-chief, Goeffrey Thomas did note that there is “not much between the top 10” so next year may see Qantas lose its safety crown.

Budget safety

If Qantas is a bit out of your price range then luckily Airlineratings.com also compiled a list of budget airlines who have made safety their top priority. As with the regular list, the website looked at major incidents, rather than minor ones.

Although not ranked and only listed alphabetically, these airlines have all passed the International Air Transport Association Operational Safety Audit (IOSA). They are; Air Arabia, Flybe, Frontier, HK Express, IndiGo, Jetblue, Volaris, Vueling, Westjet and last but not least, Wizz Air.

What do you think of Airlineratings lists? Do you agree with who made the top 20 or would you have included British Airways and the American Carriers? Let us know who you think is the safest airline in the comments below.