Last updated: 03:45 PM ET, Fri June 03 2016

What Are the World’s Safest Airlines?

Airlines & Airports | Janeen Christoff | June 03, 2016

What Are the World’s Safest Airlines?

Photo courtesy Thinkstock.

Unfortunately, airline news has been dominated recently by a number of threats to passengers. Most recently, the EgyptAir crash in the Mediterranean has brought airline safety to the forefront and nervous fliers may be looking for some reassurances before taking off this summer. For travelers wondering which airlines are the safest, has put together an annual survey rating airlines’ safety records.

Its ratings system takes into account a range of factors that include audits from the aviation industry’s governing bodies and associations, government audits and the airline’s fatality record. Editors at also take into account an airline’s operational history, incident records and operational excellence to determine its rankings.

Number one in its 2016 rankings is Qantas, an honor the airline has held for three years running. What makes the airline standout? A fatality-free record, which is extraordinary in the jet era.

Here are the top 20 airlines on the list in alphabetical order:

Air New Zealand

Alaska Airlines

All Nippon Airlines

American Airlines

Cathay Pacific Airways


Etihad Airways



Hawaiian Airlines

Japan Airlines

KLM Royal Dutch Airlines



Scandinavian Airline System

Singapore Airlines


United Airlines

Virgin Atlantic

Virgin Australia

According to, these airlines have all passed the stringent International Air Transport Association Operational Safety Audit (IOSA) and have excellent safety records. And they all have a seven-star safety ranking. In fact, 148 of the 407 airlines surveyed hold a seven-star ranking and readers who are curious about what an airline’s safety star ranking is, can check out the website and view ratings.

READ MORE: Check Out Southwest's New Shark Week Plane

For those looking for data on low-cost carriers, here are the top 10 low-cost carriers:

Aer Lingus


HK Express


Jetstar Australia

Thomas Cook


Virgin America


West Jet

Air travel may seem volatile, but fliers must consider the sheer volume of passengers and, while headlines are made when there are safety issues – and rightly so – flying is still one of the safest means of transport. According to the ICAO Safety Report in 2015, airlines carried approximately 3.2 billion passengers in 2014, which was up 5 percent from 2013 numbers. In 2015, airlines carried even more – 3.6 billion on 34 million flights. 


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