• For the third time in a row, Australia’s Qantas has been named best airline, which according to the report has a “fatality free record in the jet era – an extraordinary record.”

    Launched in 2013 AirlineRatings.com has produced a list of top 20 airlines that according to their standards rating stand-out from the rest. Although the company has come up with a list, it does not numerically rank them as the airlines have almost equal operational safety controls. AirlineRatings picks out only the best from the list.   

    Out of the 407 airlines surveyed for 2016, 148 managed to garner the top seven-star safety ranking. 50 have just three stars. 10 airlines only scored one star and these airlines are from Surinam, Nepal and Indonesia.

    According to the survey, only one UK airline, Virgin Atlantic, made it to the top 20.

    To come up with the list, AirlineRatings based their survey on a comprehensive analysis using data from the world’s aviation body and information from other stakeholders including crash data on airlines and other governing bodies.

    The safety rating criteria used include if the airline is IOSA or ISSA certified, and an affirmation wins a particular airline two stars. If the said airline is on the European Union (EU) Blacklist, a star is lost or added if it not blacklisted.

    If the airline has maintained a fatality free record for the past 10 years, it gets a star. Having a fatality within the set period however, does not mean losing a star, instead no star is awarded. An airline that is FAA endorsed gets a full star; if not, no star is given.

    Other considerations are:” Does the country of airline origin meet all 8 ICAO safety parameters”; Has the airline's fleet been grounded by the country's governing aviation safety authority due to safety concerns; and Does the airline operate only Russian built aircraft? An affirmation to each of the last two criteria means that an additional star will be taken off the total.

    The top 20 airlines in alphabetical order are: Air New Zealand, Alaska Airlines, All Nippon Airways, American Airlines, Cathay Pacific Airways, Emirates, Etihad Airways, EVA Air, Finnair, Hawaiian Airlines, Japan Airlines, KLM, Lufthansa, Scandinavian Airline System, Singapore Airlines, Swiss, United Airlines, Virgin Atlantic and Virgin Australia.

    The top 10 low cost airlines in alphabetical order as carried out in a different survey by the same company are: Aer Lingus, Flybe, HK Express, Jetblue, Jetstar Australia, Thomas Cook, TUI Fly, Virgin America, Volaris and Westjet.