by Shawn L Fitzpatrick
When thinking about the range of qualities we look for in an airline carrier, the ability to deliver us to our destination alive and in one piece is at the top of the list (just slightly edging out leg room). Safety is primary when flying: we want to travel on airlines that are rigorous about safety inspections, use innovative navigation technology, and adhere to basic best practices – like making sure the plane is heading in the right direction and closing all doors before taking off.
Unfortunately, some airlines – as per the ratings listed on AirlineRatings.com; have some work to do. The aviation safety-focused website performs a comprehensive analysis of data from several international aviation and government sources and gives every airline they monitor a numerical rating from 1 to 7. (Airlines that receive a 7 are considered the safest; those that receive a 1 are the least safe.) The ratings are based on several factors, including whether or not the airline is USA Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) endorsed, if it meets International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) safety standards, and whether it operates only Russian-built aircrafts (which apparently, automatically earns an air carrier a demerit).
These 38 airlines on the list below have the lowest Airline Safety Ratings. So which airlines are included in this list? Here are all the carriers evaluated that received a 3 or lower:
Editor’s Note: Since the publication of this piece, AirlineRatings.com has updated their ratings of certain carriers to reflect the distinct safety-related factors that airlines flying small aircrafts in difficult-to-access locations face. It is also important to note that the list of airlines rated here is not comprehensive; therefore the airlines with the lowest safety ratings on the site could, in some cases, be safer than airlines not included on the list at all.
That’s Okay, I’ll Pass (Rating: 3)
Avia Traffic Company
Cambodia Angkor Air
Drukair Royal Bhutan
Orient Thai Airlines
Definitely Not Flying on Them (Rating: 2)
Ariana Afghan Airlines
Not If You Paid Me (Rating: 1)
Sriwijaya Air and Nam Air
Tara Air (Editor’s Note: Tara Air’s rating – which flies to difficult to access locations; has been updated to “Pending”. As per Captain Samir Sajet, a regional aviation safety officer for the UAE, Tara Air and sister carrier Yeti Air are “the only airlines in mountainous Nepal to achieve an IATA global safety standard” and “the only Nepalese fixed-wing operators to have been assessed by the UN World Food Programme as having good enough safety standards to pre-qualify for their global humanitarian air charter work.”)
* The World’s 20 SAFEST Airlines *
On a brighter note, AirlineRatings.com just released their announcement of the world’s 20 Safest Airlines. At the top of the list for three years counting – is Australian carrier Qantas Airways, which has never had a fatality.
Here is the full list, in alphabetical order: American Airlines, Alaska Airlines, All Nippon Airways, Air New Zealand, Cathay Pacific Airways, Emirates, Etihad Airways, EVA Air, Finnair, Hawaiian Airlines, Japan Airlines, KLM, Lufthansa, Qantas, Scandinavian Airline System, Singapore Airlines, Swiss, United Airlines, Virgin Atlantic, Virgin Australia.
“Do not go where the path leads, travel instead where there is no path and leave a trail.” @wbbrjp