After 556 people died in 15 separate plane crashes in 2018, air safety remains at the forefront of travelers’ minds. It was however the third-safest year in aviation history in terms of the number of fatal accidents and the ninth-safest in terms of lives lost, according to the Aviation Safety Network. With 4.5 billion passenger flights and 45 million flights last year, the accident rate is declining, but, whether you have a fear of flying or not, you want to be able to rest easy as you're propelled up the runway. For those who want further assurance, AirlineRatings.com has revealed its annual top 20 safest airlines list from the 405 it monitors.
Which airline came out on top?
The safety and product rating website says it takes into account a comprehensive range of factors include audits from aviation’s governing and industry bodies; government audits; airline’s crash and serious incident record; profitability, industry-leading safety initiatives, and fleet age. And this year Qantas has come out on top. AirlineRatings.com said:
"The Australian airline has been a leader in the development of: Future Air Navigation System; the flight data recorder to monitor plane and later crew performance; automatic landings using Global Navigation Satellite System as well as precision approaches around mountains in cloud using RNP.
"Qantas was the lead airline with real-time monitoring of its engines across its fleet using satellite communications, which has enabled the airline to detect problems before they become a major safety issue."
While the remainder of the top 20 are not ranked and Qantas wasn't noted as the leader last year, it was singled out as the world's safest in the four years prior to that. Dubai carrier Emirates was also included in this year's top 20 once again, along with the likes of Singapore Airlines and British Airways.
How is the rating determined?
Geoffrey Thomas, of AirlineRatings.com, said the site only looked at serious incidents in making its determinations.
“All airlines have incidents every day and many are aircraft manufacture issues, not airline operational problems,’ he said. “It is the way the flight crew handles incidents that determines a good airline from an unsafe one. So just lumping all incidents together is very misleading.”
“And some countries' incident reporting systems are weak further complicating matters.”
The deadliest accident last year was on October 29, when a Boeing 737 plane operated by Lion Air crashed off Indonesia killing all 189 people on board. In May, more than 100 people were killed when another Boeing 737 passenger plane crashed, this time in Cuba.