Which Airlines Have the Lowest Accident Rates?

Airplane landing in the evening
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Many travelers always worry about the possibility of airplane crashes. Dr. Arnold Barnett is a professor at the the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Sloan School of Management who has done extensive research in the field of commercial flight safety.

He found that between 1975 and 1994, the death risk per flight was one in seven million. That means that any time you board a flight on a major carrier in this country, your chance of being in a fatal accident is one in seven million.

That means if you flew every day of your life, it would take 19,000 years before you would be in a fatal accident. 

The AirSafe.com database includes a sample of airlines from around the world that have not had an event causing a fatality event since 1970. Accidents that have happened in 2016 so far include:

  • October 28, 2016, American Airlines 767-300, Chicago O'Hare International Airport; During the takeoff, the right engine experienced an uncontained failure, and the flight crew aborted the takeoff. There were eight minor injuries among the 161 passengers and nine crew members. 
  • October 27 2016, Eastern Airlines 737-700, LaGuardia Airport: This accident made news because it was the campaign jet of then-Vice Presidential candidate Mike Pence. Upon landing at LaGuardia, the crew was unable to come to a stop on the runway. The aircraft was slowed by an arrestor bed of low-density concrete beyond the end of the runway. None of the 40 passengers or crew were injured. 
  • August 3, 2016, Emirates 777-300, Dubai International Airport: While trying to land af lfiht coming from Thiruvananthapuram, India, the crew attempted a go-around shortly after the main landing gear touched down on the runway, but the aircraft was unable to gain altitude. The aircraft settled down onto the runway at a rate of descent of 900 feet per minute and skidded to a stop on the runway. There was a subsequent fire and explosion that destroyed most of the fuselage. None of the 18 crew members or 282 passengers were killed or seriously injured, although a firefighter was killed. 
  • May 19, 2016, EgyptAir A320-200 en route from Paris to Cairo: Radar contact was lost as the aircraft was cruising at 37,000 feet and over the eastern Mediterranean Sea north of the Egyptian coast. It crashed into the sea and there were no survivors among the 56 passengers and 10 crew members on board.
  • March 19, 2016, flydubai 737-800, Rostov-on-Don Airport, Russia: The crew aborted its first landing approach, and went into a holding pattern for an hour before its second attempt. During the second landing attempt, the crew indicated that they planed to execute a go-around procedure, the aircraft then entered a steep descent, and then crashed on the edge of the runway. All seven crew members and 55 passengers were killed. 

​Below are crashes from the website's database. If the airline was started after 1970, its year of initial passenger operations is included.

 

United States and Canada 
Air Transat (1987) 
Allegiant Air (1998) 
Canadian North (1989) 
Cape Air (1989) 
Frontier Airlines* (1994) 
GoJet Airlines (2004) 
Hawaiian Airlines 
Horizon Air (1981) 
Jazz (Air Canada Express) (2001) 
JetBlue (2000) 
Omni Air International (1997) 
Porter Airlines (2006) 
PSA Airlines (1995) 
Sky Regional Airlines (Air Canada Express) 
Shuttle America (1995) 
Southwest Airlines (1971) 
Spirit Airlines (1992) 
Sun Country Airlines (1983) 
Trans States Airlines (1982) 
Virgin America (2007) 
WestJet Airlines (1996)

* A different airline also called Frontier ceased operations in 1986.

Europe (including former Soviet Union carriers)
Aer Lingus 
Agean Airlines (1992) 
Air Austral (1975) 
AirBaltic (1995) 
Air Berlin (1979) 
Air Dolomiti (1991) 
Air Malta (1974) 
Austrian Airlines 
Blue Panorama (1998) 
Brussels Airlines (2007) 
Condor Berlin* (1998) 
Corsair (1981) 
easyJet (1995) 
Edelweiss Air (1996) 
Estonian Air (1991) 
Eurowings (1994) 
Finnair 
Icelandair 
Malmo Aviation (1993) 
Meridiana 
Monarch Airlines 
Norwegian Air Shuttle (1993) 
Nouvelair Tunisie (1990) 
Novair (1997) 
Onur Air (1992) 
Pegasus Airlines (1990) 
Portugalia Airlines* (1990) 
Ryanair (1985) 
SATA International (1998) 
Sunexpress Airlines (1990) 
Thomas Cook Airlines (2000) 
Transaero (1991) 
Transavia Airlines* 
Travel Service Airlines (1997) 
Ukraine International (1992) 
Virgin Atlantic (1984) 
Wizz Air (2003)

* Airline has either a subsidiary or a parent airline that was responsible for at least one fatal event since 1970.

Asia and Pacific Region

Air Do (1998) 

Air Macau (1995) 
Air Niugini (1973) 
Dragonair* (1985) 
EVA Air (1991) 
Hainan Airlines (1989) 
IndieGo (2006) 
JAL Express* (1998) 
Jet Airways (1993) 
Japan TransOcean Air* 
Juneyao Airlines (2005) 
Qantas 
Royal Brunei Airlines (1975) 
Shaheen Air (1993) 
Shandong Airlines* (1994) 
Shanghai Airlines* (1985) 
Shenzhen Airlines (1992) 
Sichuan Airlines (1988) 
Skymark Airlines (1998) 
SpiceJet (2005) 
Tigerair (2003)

* Airline has either a subsidiary or a parent airline that was responsible for at least one fatal event since 1970.

Latin American and Caribbean 
Aserca Airlines (1992) 
Avianca Costa Rica* 
Azul Brazilian Airlines (2008) 
Bahamasair (1973) 
Caribbean Airlines (2007) 
Cayman Airways 
Copa Airlines Colombia* (2010) 
Interjet (2005) 
LanPeru* (1999) 
LASER (1994) 
Vivaaerobus.com (2006) 
VivaColombia (2012)

Middle East/Africa

Air Astana (2002) 
Air Mauritius (1972) 
Air Seychelles (1976) 
Air Tanzania (1977) 
Arkia Israeli Airlines 
Emirates (1985) 
Etihad Airways (2003) 
Interair South Africa(1994) 
Jazeera Airways (2004) 
kulula.com* (2001) 
Mahan Air (1992) 
Oman Air (1981) 
Qatar Airways (1994) 
South African Express (1994) 
Syrianair 
Tunisair 
Turkmenistan Airlines (1992)

* Airline has either a subsidiary or a parent airline that was responsible for at least one fatal event since 1970.