Top 10 Safest Airlines

Cathay Pacific tops the list

Cathay Pacific Boeing 777-300ER

Aero Icarus/Wikipedia

We did a post on the top 10 safest aircraft, so it was only natural to take a look at the list of safest airlines. Every year, Germany’s Jet Airliner Crash Data Evaluation Centre (JACDEC) releases its annual list based on an airline’s cumulative performance in the past 30 years. The organization has released its list for 2017 outlining the top 60 safest airlines in the world, based on air crashes.

The latest Airline Safety Ranking is designed to show travelers how to interpret the numbers. First and foremost is the Safety Index ranking, which looks at factors including accidents and serious incidents, revenue passenger numbers and safety audits.

Hong Kong-based Cathay Pacific retained its place in the top spot in 2017. JADEC says the carrier has had no fatalities and no hull loss events in the past three decades. The remaining top 20 carriers are:

3. Hainan Airlines

4. Qatar Airways

5. KLM

6. Eva Air


10. Japan Airlines

11. All Nippon Airways

12. Lufthansa

13. Tap Portugal

14. Virgin Atlantic

15. Delta Air Lines

16. Air Canada

17. JetBlue Airways

18. Virgin Australia

19. British Airways

20. Air Berlin

For the first time, JACDEC also launched a half-year survey about global flight safety. Although fatality figures were above average in 2014, the general trend towards an ever-lower rate of death in combination with an unbridled passenger growth has been unbroken for more than three decades.

Looking at January 2017 to June 2017, 16 people were killed in aircraft accidents aboard civilian airliners. Although any death is tragic, scheduled passenger services posted a zero fatality rate in the first six months of the year The fatalities happened within on-demand (air-taxi) flights, cargo services or other non-commercial flights.

There was also an all-time low with serious incidents. Only 93 of them were reported, marking a new low for the last 10 years. And nine aircraft were destroyed by accidents between January and June.

JACDEC noted that In most countries, commercial aviation has reached a sophisticated and professional level, thanks to the implementation of global safety standards for flight operations and government oversight. A joint effort that harvests new safety records and an environment where the likelihood of terrible accidents is shrinking year by year.

Overall, the safest regions in the world, according to JADEC, were North America and Eurasia, which includes Russia and the countries east of Ukraine, with the region not posting a single flight accident death. The Latin America region posted 10 deaths, mostly on flights with vintage machines on non-scheduled operations.

Africa experienced 18 aircraft losses and 134 fatalities in 2014, JADEC reported. The most deaths occurred in the Asia-Pacific region, where the half of all fatalities occurred in 2014, it added.

JADEC is not the only organization to rate airline safety. In its 2017 list, rated Qantas number one, based on the Australian flag carrier’s fatality-free record in the jet era.

It was followed on the list in alphabetical order by Air New Zealand, Alaska Airlines, All Nippon Airlines, American Airlines, British Airways, Cathay Pacific Airways, Delta Air Lines, Etihad Airways, EVA Air, Finnair, Hawaiian Airlines, Japan Airlines, KLM , Lufthansa, Scandinavian Airline System , Singapore Airlines, Swiss, United Airlines, Virgin Atlantic and Virgin Australia.

The rankings, according to the website, are based a range of factors related to audits from aviation’s governing bodies such as the FAA and ICAO as well as government audits and the airline’s fatality record. 

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