The Jet Airliner Crash Data Evaluation Centre (JADEC), which is based in Germany, has revealed its safety rankings for airlines based on serious accidents and aircraft loss incidents that have happened over the last 30 years. This Safety Index then compares the accidents to the airlines’ revenue per passenger kilometre over the same period. The result this year is that Finnair is the safest airline in the world to fly with, while China Airlines is the most dangerous.
The top 10 safest airlines in the world are (in order): Finnair, Air New Zealand, Cathay Pacific, Emirates, Etihad Airways, EVA Air, TAP Portugal, Hainan Airlines, Virgin Australia and British Airways. The bottom 10 are (starting with the most dangerous): China Airlines, TAM Airlines, Air India, GOL Transportes Aéreos, Korean Air, Saudia Arabian Airlines, Turkish Airlines, Thai Airways, South African Airways and SkyWest Airlines.
Among the top nine, none had aircraft losses or fatalities over the 30 years surveyed, but several hadn’t been active for the entire period. Etihad Airways, for example, has only been established since 2003. China Airlines, on the other hand, has been in operation since 1959. Over the last 30 years, the carrier has lost eight aircraft and had 755 fatalities. This includes the death of 264 crew and passengers in a crash landing at Nagoya Airport in Japan in 1994.
However, Air New Zealand has been operating for longer, and was ranked second on the list. David Morgan, the airline’s chief flight operations and safety officer, says this recognition shows how dedicated they are to maintaining a strong culture of safety. Safety is non-negotiable and a top priority for the airline, and they have worked hard to create such a culture, which has been adopted by over 10,000 staff. It’s pleasing that an external agency has acknowledged this.
While European, New Zealand and Hong Kong carriers scored the highest for safety, North American airlines seem to have fallen in the middle of the 60-carrier-long list. Rather than national airlines making it into the top 20, it was the budget airlines. JetBlue Airways made it to 14th in the rankings, and WestJet Airlines was ranked 19th. Both of these carriers haven’t had any crashes or fatalities, but they haven’t been in operation for as long as Southwest Airlines, United Airlines and Air Canada. JetBlue was founded in 1999 and WestJet was founded in 1996.
Overall, there were 496 deaths recorded among commercial airline passengers last year, which is only two less than the year before. The biggest incident involving deaths last year was a Dana Air crash in Nigeria that killed 169 people, while 127 people died in a Bhoja Air crash in Pakistan. These figures resonate with previous statements that last year was good for airline safety.
The Aviation Safety Network (ASN) said that flying is becoming less dangerous all the time. Harro Ranter, the president of ASN, says that the average amount of carrier incidents since 1997 has shown consistent decline. This could be credited to the continued efforts by international aviation organisations like the International Air Transport Association (IATA), International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), Flight Safety Foundation, and the aviation industry to improve safety.