The 10 Safest Airlines in the World

Finnair airplane
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For some travelers, the age of glamour in the sky is long gone. For others, who can afford perks like lie-flat beds and onboard showers, flying has never been better. In either case, it's easy to forget that the primary function of an airline is a simple, even existential one: Getting all passengers safely from point A to point B. With this in mind, continue to learn the world's safest airlines for 2019, a list we've assembled using data collected by Germany's Jet Airliner Crash Data Evaluation Centre, or JADEC for short.

The Safest Airlines in the World in 2019

According to JADEC, these are the world's safest airlines as of 2019:

  1. Finnair
  2. Scoot
  3. Norwegian
  4. Emirates
  5. Air Europa
  6. Transavia
  7. Etihad
  8. Virgin Atlantic
  9. KLM
  10. Jetstar

Curious about which airlines are the most dangerous in the world, or which carriers just missed the mark for this year's survey? JADEC has more information on its website, including the opportunity to purchase a full report.

How JADEC Compiles Its List

One reason JADEC is such a respected authority for determining the safest airlines in the world is because of the complex, comprehensive criteria it uses to make its rankings. Like most of the other agencies around the world that create these sorts of lists (more on those in a minute), JADEC factors in aircraft accidents and incidents, both major ones involving fatalities, and minor ones as simple as skidding off the runway, or one aircraft clipping the wing of another.

However, JADEC separates itself in other ways. Namely, it takes into account the regular safety audits that airlines need to do, which assess an airline's preparedness and compliance in the absence of a real-world event. Additionally, JADEC presents its findings as a function of annual passenger numbers, which is why non-major airlines rarely rise into the top ranks of safe airlines around the world.

Other Airline Safety Authorities

JADEC has rightfully earned its place as the barometer by which the world's safest airlines are measured, but it's not the only option. Here are some other resources you might consult if you want to gain further insight into global airline safety:

  • AirlineRatings.com: This private entity, which is not associated with any national government (though it may use proprietary government data), publishes an annual list of the 20 safest airlines in the world. In 2019, this list includes several airlines that did not appear on JADEC's list, including Japan's All Nippon Airways and Cathay Pacific of Hong Kong (which topped JADEC's list in 2017, incidentally). As you explore AirlineRatings.com, you will notice that this organization creates several other airline lists, many of which have little to do with safety.
  • Airlines for America: This U.S.-based non-profit organization, which lobbies and consults with members of Congress to pass laws that benefit air travelers, uses data from the National Safety Council to assemble an annual safety record for US air carriers. Like AirlineRatings.com, Airlines for America does not exclusively focus on safety and has interests in a variety of areas of air travel, including transparency in pricing and the competitive landscape and the effect of airline mergers on it.

One thing you should keep in mind, regardless of how each list shapes up, is that air travel is still the safest way to travel anywhere in the world. News reports of plane crashes can seem terrifying, especially with the up-to-the-second news cycle of the modern era, but you're far more likely to die driving your car to work than you are in a plane crash anywhere in the world, even taking "dangerous" airlines.

Many of the safest airlines in the world might not be the ones you're expecting. Several of them are low-cost carriers, but don't be fooled—just because an airline cuts corners when it comes to food and beverage or onboard service doesn't mean it's unsafe. Conversely, just because an airline is elegant and high-class doesn't mean it's any more likely to get you to your destination alive and well. Safe travels—no matter which airline you fly next.

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