Airline safety is one of those things you hope you'll never have to worry about when you travel.
But even the most nervous of fliers should take heart when flying Australia's flag carrier, Qantas -as it has just been rated the safest airline in the world for what is effectively the seventh year in a row.
Qantas held the title of the world's safest airline from 2014 to 2017. In 2018, AirlineRatings could find no clear "winner" so awarded the accolade jointly to the top 20 airlines, listing them alphabetically.
But this year, Qantas has returned to the top.
Qantas has been put at the top of the list of the safest airlines in the world for 2020 by AirlineRatings.com, the world’s only safety, and product rating website.
AirlineRatings.com has also announced its Top Twenty safest airlines and Ten Safest Low-Cost Airlines for 2020 from the 405 it monitors.
Its editor-in-chief, Geoffrey Thomas, has covered aviation for 45 years and developed the formula for assessing airline safety in 2013. Qantas has been No.1 every year.
Evaluating Factors of the Safest Airlines in the World
In making its evaluation of the safest airlines in the world, AirlineRatings.com takes into account a comprehensive range of factors that include: audits from aviation’s governing and industry bodies, government audits, airline’s crash and serious incident record, profitability, industry-leading safety initiatives, and fleet age.
In selecting Qantas as the world’s safest airline for 2020, AirlineRatings.com editors noted that over its 99-year history the world’s oldest continuously operating airline has amassed a truly amazing record of firsts in operations and safety and is now accepted as the industry’s most experienced airline.*
The Australian airline has been a leader in the development of Future Air Navigation System; the flight data recorder to monitor plane and later crew performance; automatic landings using Global Navigation Satellite System as well as precision approaches around mountains in the cloud using RNP.
Qantas was the lead airline with real-time monitoring of its engines across its fleet using satellite communications, which has enabled the airline to detect problems before they become a major safety issue.
The Top 20 Safest Airlines for 2020
The rankings take into account factors including audits from aviation bodies and governments, crash and serious incident records, fleet age, financial position, pilot training and culture.
A top 20 list of the safest airlines in the world for this year is below. Qantas is at the top followed by these in numerical order:
Notable exceptions from the list are British Airways, ANA, American Airlines and United, all of which made the top 20 last year. Japan Airlines and Delta also failed to make the cut -- both have been on previous lists.
Thomas says British Airways slid down the rankings due to a "combination of fleet age [average 13.8 years] and the number of incidents... which were not life-threatening but there were a lot of them compared to other airlines of similar size."
Regarding the others, he points to incidents of allegedly intoxicated pilots on United, American, Delta, JAL and ANA.
Thomas praises Qantas's innovations, including the "extraordinary success of its Perth to London Boeing 787 nonstop service" and its recent London-Sydney and New York-Sydney test flights.
The airline has ordered 12 Airbus A350s to operate nonstop between the cities.
He also notes there was "not much between the top 10" airlines, but that "wider gaps appear from 10 to 20."
Safest Low-Cost Airlines – Top 10
They are a rapidly-growing segment of the industry, but rapid growth can come with some problems, which is why it’s so important to read reviews and ratings before booking.
The website has also produced a list of the world's safest budget airlines, although these are ranked equally, and so listed alphabetically. They are:
1. Air Arabia
4. HK Express
10. Wizz Air.
These LCCs have all passed the stringent International Air Transport Association Operational Safety Audit (IOSA) and have excellent safety records.
Other factors used to decide the top 10 LCCs include the results of audits conducted by the governing body of aviation, The International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO), whether they are on banned lists and a fatality-free record for the past 10 years.
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