In Brief

The world’s safest – and least safe – airlines for 2019

The Australian airline Qantas tops the list of safest carriers for the sixth consecutive year

Qantas Airbus 380

Last year was one of the safest years ever for commercial aviation, according to the Aviation Safety Network (ASN), which tracks aviation incidents and accidents.

There were 15 fatal crashes which killed a total of 556 people, making 2018 the third safest year ever by the number of fatal accidents and the ninth safest in terms of deaths.

However, it was worse than the five-year average, the organisation says.

The number of airline accidents has been on a steady global decline since 1992, but the recent Ethiopian Airlines disaster in which 157 people were killed has brought air safety back into focus.

While passenger jet crashes remain relatively rare, some airlines fare far better than others when it comes to their safety record.

What are the safest airlines?

According to the Australia-based aviation analysis website AirlineRatings.com’s annual list of the world's safest airlines, Aussie carrier Qantas came out top for the sixth year in a row.

Over its 98-year history, the world’s oldest continuously operating airline “has amassed an amazing record of firsts in operations and safety and is now accepted as the industry’s most experienced airline”, the website says.

The rankings are based on a number of factors including the airline’s standing with international regulators, its fatality record over the past ten years, the age of its fleet of planes and its result from an International Air Transport Association safety audit.

Developed with the help of the United Nations’ International Civil Aviation Organisation, the list analyses 409 airlines around the world to arrive at an unranked top 20

The top 20 for 2018, in alphabetical order are:

Air New Zealand, Alaska Airlines, All Nippon Airways, American Airlines, Austrian Airlines, British Airways, Cathay Pacific Airways, Emirates, EVA Air, Finnair, Hawaiian Airlines, KLM, Lufthansa, Qantas, Qatar, Scandinavian Airline System, Singapore Airlines, Swiss, and United Airlines, and the Virgin group of airlines (Atlantic and Australia).

This year, analysts also ranked the ten safest low-cost carriers, which include Flybe, Jetblue, Thomas Cook, and Wizz.

What about the least safe?

Of the 400 or so airlines around the world that were monitored, those rated one star (out of seven) for safety all hailed from Afghanistan, Suriname and Indonesia.

They are: Ariana Afghan Airlines, Blue Wing Airlines, Kam Air, and Trigana Air Service.

Blue Wing, based in Suriname, experienced three crashes between 2008 and 2010, two of which included fatalities. It was subsequently placed on an EU aviation blacklist, according to The National.

Indonesia’s Trigana Air made headlines in 2015 when 54 people were killed after a ATR 42-300 twin-turboprop went down in the east of the country, the website reports.

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