CANBERRA: Australia’s Qantas Airways was named the world’s safest airline on Thursday (Jan 3), the fifth time the carrier has led the rankings.
Qantas, one of the world’s oldest airlines, was chosen for the top spot this year due to its “leadership with safety innovations”, AirlineRatings.com’s editor-in-chief Geoffrey Thomas told Channel NewsAsia on Friday.
The airline has been at the forefront of developing technology such as the Future Air Navigation System and the flight data recorder used to monitor plane and crew performance.
It also uses satellite communications to monitor the engines across its fleet in real-time, which allows the carrier to detect problems before they escalate to major safety issues.
Airlines named in the top 20 include Air New Zealand, All Nippon Airways, British Airways, Cathay Pacific Airways, Emirates, Qatar Airways and Singapore Airlines, among others.
These airlines are standouts in the industry and are at the forefront of safety, innovation, and launching of new aircraft, Mr Thomas was quoted as saying on the safety and product rating website.
“They have become a byword for excellence,” he added.
AirlineRatings ranks the airlines using a seven-star rating system. All top 20 airlines achieved the full seven stars.
Factors such as audits from aviation’s governing and industry bodies, government audits, crash and serious industry records, profitability, industry-leading safety initiatives and fleet age were taken into account when determining the rankings.
JAL, ETIHAD EXCLUDED
Japan Airlines (JAL) and Etihad Airlines, both included in the list previously, did not make the cut this time round.
“JAL was excluded because one of its pilots was found to be intoxicated in Heathrow,” Mr Thomas told Channel NewsAsia. “Etihad (was excluded) because it’s not profitable.”
AirlineRatings also listed the 10 safest low-cost airlines in the world. They are: Flybe, Frontier, HK Express, Jetblue, Jetstar Australia / Asia, Thomas Cook, Volaris, Vueling, Westjet and Wizz.
These airlines have all passed the stringent International Air Transport Association Operational Safety Audit and have excellent safety records, said the website.
Meanwhile, Ariana Afghan Airlines, Bluewing Airlines, Kam Air, and Trigana Air Service were ranked the lowest in terms of safety.
AirlineRatings only considered serious incidents when ranking the carriers, said Mr Thomas on the website.
“All airlines have incidents every day and many are aircraft manufacture issues, not airline operational problems. It is the way the flight crew handles incidents that determines a good airline from an unsafe one.”
In choosing an airline, Mr Thomas advised travellers to do their homework and compare airline ratings.
“Don’t forget, you get what you pay for.”