The world’s safest and most dangerous airlines

Cathay Pacific 747-8f air to airThe world’s aviation recorded a death toll of 970 fatalities in 2014, the second highest in the past decade. It is nearly 4 times higher than in 2013, when 251 people lost their lives in plane accidents.

Yet, flying is still the safest mode of transport although there are differences between carriers. On January 30, 2015 the German Jet Airliner Crash Data Evaluation Centre (Jacdec) released its safety ranking 2015 - based on 2014 data – of the world’s 60 largest airlines.

Jacdec has more than 3,500 airlines and over 30,000 accidents in its data base. The ratings take into account:

  1. The number of hull losses that airlines have suffered in the past 30 years (accidents in which the aircraft is destroyed or damaged and has not been repaired).
  2. How airlines have fared more recently.
  3. How many flights they have flown without incident.

In 2014 there were 2 special accidents both involving Malaysia Airlines. First, the mysterious disappearance of flight MH370 en route from Kula Lumpur to Beijing. Second, the downing of flight MH17 over eastern Ukraine by a Russian missile.

As a result, Malaysia Airlines tumbled from 34th to 57th place in the safety ranking even though governments seem to bear more responsibility than the carrier, certainly with regard to MH17.

Table 1 displays the 10 safest carriers in 2014. Three are from Asia, 2 from the Middle East, 2 from Oceania, and 1 from Europe.

Four of this top-10 are not a member of any of the 3 airline alliances. The Star Alliance has 3 members in this group, oneworld 2 and SkyTeam 1.

Table 2 shows the 10 most dangerous airlines in 2014. Six are from Asia, 3 from Latin America, and 1 from the Middle East.

SkyTeam is best represented with 4 members in this group of most dangerous carriers. Three are not a member of any airline alliance, 2 are members of the Star Alliance, and 1 is a member of oneworld.

Click here for the full list of the 60 biggest airlines including the safety indices.

Top-10 safest airlines Top-10 most dangerous airlines
1  Cathay Pacific Airways 51  Copa Airlines
2  Emirates 52  Saudia
3  EVA Air 53  GOL Transportes Aéreos
4  Air Canada 54  Xiamen Airlines
5  KLM 55  TAM Airlines
6  Air New Zealand 56  Garuda
7  QANTAS 57  Malaysia Airlines
8  Hainan Airlines 58  Air India
9  JetBlue Airlines 59  China Airlines
10  Etihad Airways 60  Lion Air

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