Dhe disturbing images of the rescue work after the plane crash off the coast of Java give an old question new topicality right at the beginning of the year: Which airline is how safe?
An assessment is difficult – even if portals all over the world are trying to find an answer. In the world of commercial aviation, it will be particularly difficult for the exceptional year 2020. Because thanks to the global corona restrictions, only a few flights were made – and the overall performance of an airline is an important criterion for drawing conclusions about its long-term security situation.
“This year the airlines had fewer opportunities to fly many passenger kilometers – so their“ old ”accidents are weighted more heavily than usual,” says “Aero International” editor-in-chief Thomas Borchert.
Flights are generally riskier in Indonesia
Against this background, the latest hit parade of the 100 safest airlines in the world, the Hamburg Aircraft Accident Bureau, can be seen Jet Airliner Crash Data Evaluation Centre (JACDEC) – it is more of a long-term evaluation than a snapshot. The two top positions are once again shared by the Gulf airlines Emirates (first place) and Etihad Airways with their enormous flight performance.
The third-placed Scoot – a subsidiary of Singapore Airlines merged with Tigerair (21st place) – proves once again that low-cost airlines don’t have to be worse than the top dogs when it comes to flight safety. “Scoot Tigerair, which has been on the road for 17 years, has not yet recorded a single total loss in flight operations, and the number of serious incidents was just four,” says JACDEC director Jan-Arwed Richter.
In this respect, hasty conclusions also fall short of the Indonesian low-cost airline Sriwijaya Air, which was founded in 2003 – its Boeing 737-500 aircraft do not have to be worse maintained than those of other airlines. The airline, named after the former Buddhist kingdom on Sumatra, is not listed in the annual safety ranking of the flight safety office JACDEC, although it is a larger player in the country’s competitive domestic flight market. According to JACDEC, there were five total losses for the airline, four of them with passengers on board – only the last one was killed.
“Indonesia has always been a riskier area than other parts of the world: the plane is the only form of transport within the vast country where you don’t have to calculate days, but only hours,” explains Richter, who is also sensitive to tropical storms, torrential rains as well refers to a limited infrastructure as risk factors. Risky, hair-raising landing approaches are therefore often the order of the day.
“Every year we have incidents involving passenger planes at provincial airports that regularly roll over the runway,” says the expert. Even if the state invests a lot of money in maintaining and expanding the airports, the situation remains risky: “The combination of weather, difficult topography and short runways, many of which can only be approached when visibility is good, represents a permanent safety risk.”
Lufthansa ends up in the midfield at JACDEC
The accident researchers at the JACDEC office have once again placed the Spanish Air Europa in fourth place as the safest European airline, ahead of Finnair (5) and the Dutch companies KLM (6) and Transavia (7), Oman Air (8), the Taiwanese Eva Air (9) and the American Jetblue Airways (10). The German Lufthansa subsidiary Eurowings follows in 28th place. Swiss (54th place), Lufthansa (57) and Austrian Airlines (62) landed in the middle.
But the rating – which can be influenced by individual events on commercial scheduled flights – only partially says something about the continued high level of security in the industry. The percentages of the airlines in the complex risk index are mostly very close to one another. The JACDEC study records the 100 lines with the highest traffic performance worldwide – and rewards airlines with years of accident-free flight operations.
The top 20 safest airlines in the world
The first 20 places on the list of the world’s safest airlines, which the Hamburg Aircraft Accident Bureau JACDEC compiled for the aviation magazine “Aero International”, are occupied as follows:
1. Emirates (United Arab Emirates / risk index 94.75 percent)
2. Etihad Airways (United Arab Emirates / 94.73 percent)
3. Scoot Tigerair (Singapore / 94.52 percent)
4. Air Europa (Spain / 94.45 percent)
5. Finnair (Finland / 93.14 percent)
6. KLM (Netherlands / 92.97 percent)
7. Transavia (Netherlands / 92.61 percent)
8. Oman Air (Oman / 92.31 percent)
9. Eva Air (Taiwan / 92.15 percent)
10. Jetblue Airways (USA / 91.90 percent)
11. Cathay Pacific Airways (Hong Kong / 91.51 percent)
12. Jetstar Airways (Australia / 91.50 percent)
13. Easyjet (UK / 91.12 percent)
14. Jet2.com (UK / 90.99 percent)
15. Norwegian Air Shuttle (Norway / 90.82 percent)
Aer Lingus (Ireland / 90.71%)
17. Delta Air Lines (USA / 90.63 percent)
18. Westjet Airlines (Canada / 90.59 percent)
19. Vueling Airlines (Spain / 90.56 percent)
20. Capital Airlines (China / 90.55 percent)
The safety ranking of all 100 largest airlines is in the February issue of Aero International read, which will be published on January 14th.