With 21 fatal accidents and 986 fatalities, 2014 was one of deadliest years in aviation history. That said, flying is still one of the safest forms of transportation in the world. Aviation safety experts say that’s no reason to avoid flying. According to Australian consumer aviation website AirlineRatings.com, the airline industry transported 3.3 billion passengers on 27 million flights in 2014.
Despite the tally of fatalities, experts say the numbers actually underscore how safe flying is. Those eight accidents involving passenger flights represent a record low since the advent of modern aviation in 1946 said Harro Ranter, president of Aviation Safety Network. And they look even brighter given the growth in air traffic. Based on 2000’s accident rates per 1 million passengers, we could have expected to see 39 passenger flight accidents in 2014, he said. “There have been some significant safety improvements since 2000,” Ranter said. “It should be reassuring that the safety level is very high at the moment.”
AirlineRatings.com recently released a list of the 10 safest airlines selected from a pool of 449 carriers around the world. To compile its list, the website evaluated each airline based on its standing with international regulators, its fatality record over the past 10 years, its result from an International Air Transportation Association (IATA) safety audit, and whether the airline’s country of origin conforms with the International Civil Aviation Organization’s 8-point safety parameter.
All of the airlines on this list passed those tests with flying colors. Interestingly, the carriers on the list hail exclusively from Asia, Australia, and Europe, with no carriers from the Americas and Africa making the cut. AirlineRatings.com didn’t list the final finishing order for places 2-10, but did crown a winner.
Please note that numbers from 10 to 2 are not listed in order.
10. Air New Zealand
Air New Zealand has made a fine recovery after a period of financial turmoil in the early 2000s. This renaissance culminated with AirlineRatings.com recently naming it the best airline in the world. Air New Zealand has not suffered any significant incidents in the past couple of decades.
9. Singapore Airlines
Singapore Airlines is universally lauded for its high quality service and efficient operations. It is also Business Insider’s pick for the best airline in the world. The Changi Airport-based carrier has been accident free since 2000.
Finnair: As Finland’s national airline, Finnair doesn’t get as much attention in the media as some of its Scandinavian counterparts. But don’t discount the Helsinki-based carrier. It has one of the best safety records in the business and hasn’t suffered any major accidents since the 1960s.
7. British Airways
British Airways is one of the biggest and most decorated airlines in Europe. Although it’s been in the news in recent years for a couple of incidents, the airline has only suffered one fatal crash — in 1976— since its formation in 1974.
6. Cathay Pacific
Cathay Pacific: AirlineRatings.com recently awarded Cathay Pacific with the honor of best business class accommodations in the world. As comfortable as its business class service may be, the airline is just as competent in terms of safety. Outside of terrorist attacks, Cathay Pacific has not suffered a fatal accident since the 1960s.
5. Emirates Airlines
Emirates Airlines: Since its inception in 1985, Emirates has grown to become one of the biggest players in the industry. And in those 30 years, the airline has maintained a near-perfect safety record — not suffering a single fatal accident.
Etihad: Like its Emirates neighbor, Abu Dhabi’s Etihad has maintained an unblemished safety record. It’s truly remarkable how quickly the decade-old airline has grown in scale and reputation.
3. EVA Air
EVA Air: Taiwan’s EVA Air was recently named the best long haul airline in Asia by AirlineRatings.com. The airline has not suffered any major accidents since its founding in 1988.
Lufthansa: Germany’s Lufthansa is a European aviation juggernaut. In operation since 1955, the Frankfurt-based carrier was recently named Europe’s best long haul airline by the website. It has not suffered any fatal accidents since 1993.
Qantas: Finally, the winner is Australia’s Qantas. Qantas is the Volvo of the airline industry — a company whose reputation and mystique is built upon its clean safety record. This is for good reason. The 93 year-old airline has not had a fatal crash since 1951.
Business Insider (www.businessinder.com)
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