Monday’s plane crash in the French Alps marks yet another high-profile commercial airline crash in just the last year. Months after Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 went missing last March, there were three plane crashes in the span of one week in July. The crash of Germanwings flight 4U 9525 marked the second commercial airplane crash just this year, after a TransAsia Airlines flight crashed in February. With plane crashes taking over the news headlines, the question of which airlines are safest and most unsafe is bound to arise. So, here are your answers.
But, before reading ahead, it’s important to note the fact that — in spite of what news headlines may lead you to believe — 2014 was not a notably unsafe year for airline travel. In fact, Bustle’s Lauren Holter reported two weeks ago that that year’s 111 plane crashes is the lowest number of crashes since 1927, though the death tolls were higher. Last year likely seems to be a noteworthy year for airplane crashes because of the magnitude of the crashes that occurred. Deaths from plane crashes totaled 1,320 last year, which is higher than usual.
Moreover, The Daily Beast reports that airplane travel takes the No. 1 spot for the safest mode of transportation and, out of all countries, the United States' airline system is one of the safest. The news outlet ranked 13 airlines in America based on their safety records, with Skywest Airlines being the safest, and Continental Airlines being the least safe. Arnold Barnett, a professor from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology who studies airline safety, told The Daily Beast:
A kid who goes to the airport today is more likely to grow up to be president than die on a flight he or she takes today. The risk is on the order of one in 25 million.
If these caveats still don’t soothe your concerns, these lists of the safest and the least safe airlines worldwide can help ensure you’re making the safest flight decision of all.
AirlineRatings.com puts out an annual list of the world’s safest airlines and, Australia’s Qantas snagged the top spot. Note that Lufthansa, the parent company of Germanwings, is on this list of the safest airlines, showing how there are sometimes one-off accidents, as Germanwings' safety record is pretty good. Here are the top 10, in alphabetical order:
- Air New Zealand (New Zealand)
- Cathay Pacific (Hong Kong)
- British Airways (United Kingdom)
- Emirates (United Arab Emirates)
- Etihad Airways (United Arab Emirates)
- EVA Air (Taiwan)
- Finnair (Finland)
- Lufthansa (Germany)
- Qantas (Australia)
- Singapore Airlines (Singapore)
The Least Safe
AirlineRatings.com ranks airports using a seven-star rating system. While Malaysia Airlines got a bad rap in 2014, as it accounted for more than half of airplane crash fatalities, the rating system gave it five out of seven stars, docking it only for its fatalities record. Nearly 50 airports have three stars or less, but these are the five airlines, many of which are banned from flying in the European Union, that only got one star:
- Tara Air (Nepal)
- Agni Air (Nepal)
- Nepal Airlines (Nepal)
- SCAT Airlines (Kazakhstan)
- Kam Air (Afgahnistan)
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