Safest Airlines List

List of Safest Airlines in the World: Trustworthy Rank

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One of the world’s leading airline safety assessors, AirlineRatings, has announced its annual list of the Top 20 Safest Airlines for 2021.

Airlineratings.com monitors 385 airlines throughout the year. The website ranks the top 20 safest airlines and Ten Safest Low-Cost Airlines based on:

  • crash and serious injury records
  • audits from government and industry bodies
  • industry-leading safety initiatives
  • government audits
  • fleet age

The US is the most represented country on the list with six out of the 11 major American carriers, including all of the big four, making their way into the top 20. Only two US carriers Alaska Airlines and Hawaiian Airlines made the cut last year.

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Asia made little progress with the same airlines that earned a spot on the 2020 list making this year’s list with no new additions. Some airlines from the region managed to climb on the list; though, most lost their standing year-on-year. Here are the world’s safest airlines for 2021, according to AirlineRatings.

Top 20 Safest Ailines

The top 20 safest airlines in 2021 are always at the forefront of safety innovation, operational excellence, and new, more advanced aircraft. Here is the list.. 

  1. Qantas – flag carrier of Australia and its largest airline by fleet size, international flights, and international destinations. It is the world’s third-oldest airline still in operation and number 1 safest airlines for 3 years.
  2. Qatar Airways – operating as Qatar Airways, is the state-owned flag carrier of Qatar
  3. Air New Zealand – flag carrier airline of New Zealand. The airline has been a member of the Star Alliance since 1999
  4. Singapore Airlines –  flag carrier airline of Singapore with its hub at Singapore Changi Airport. The airline is notable for using the Singapore Girl as its central figure in corporate branding.
  5. Emirates – is an international airline. It is the largest airline in, and also the flag carrier of, the United Arab Emirates. 
  6. EVA Air – is a Taiwanese international operating passenger and dedicated cargo services to over 40 international destinations.
  7. Etihad Airways – is the second flag carrier of the United Arab Emirates. It is the second largest airline in the UAE after Emirates.
  8. Alaska Airlines – is a major American airline headquartered in SeaTac, Washington, within the Seattle metropolitan area. It is the fifth largest airline in the United States.
  9. Cathay Pacific Airwaysis the flag carrier of Hong Kong, with its head office and main hub located at Hong Kong International Airport.
  10. British Airways – is flag carrier airline of the United Kingdom. It is the second largest UK based carrier, based on fleet size and passengers carried, behind easyJet. 
  11. Virgin Australia – is an Australian-based airline. It is the largest airline by fleet size to use the Virgin brand.
  12. Hawaiian Airlines – is the flag carrier and the largest airline in the U.S. state of Hawaii. It is the tenth-largest commercial airline in the US, and is based at Honolulu, Hawaii.
  13. Southwest Airlines – is one of the major airlines of the United States and the world’s largest low-cost carrier airline.
  14. Delta Air Linesis one of the major airlines of the United States and a legacy carrier. It is headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia.
  15. American Airlines –  is a major American airline headquartered in Fort Worth, Texas, within the Dallas–Fort Worth metroplex. It is the world’s largest airline.
  16. Scandinavian Airlines (SAS) – is the flag carrier of Denmark, Norway and Sweden.
  17. Finnair- is the flag carrier and largest airline of Finland. 
  18. Lufthansa – is the largest German airline which, when combined with its subsidiaries, is the second-largest airline in Europe in terms of passengers carried.
  19. KLM Royal Dutch Airlines – is the flag carrier airline of the Netherlands.
  20. United Airlines – is a major American airline. It operates a large domestic and international route network spanning cities large and small across the United States and all six continents.
world’s safest airlines for 2021
world’s safest airlines based on a variety of factors

Qantas Named as the Safest Airline for 7 years

Qantas once again flies away with the top spot, earning the title of 2021’s safest airline. Qantas has held the title of safest airline in the world has retained its No. 1 ranking for the seventh straight year, as per the assessment from AirlineRatings. The Australian airline was also named as the safest airlines from 2014 to 2017. They also noted Qantas’ stellar safety record of flying during the modern jet age with no fatal crashes.

The Australian safest airline took out the top spot not just for operations and safety, but its innovation in real-time monitoring of its engines across its fleet, 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 the cloud using RNP.

The Australian flag carrier has been associated with safety for decades, with Dustin Hoffman’s character in “Rain Man” refusing to fly on any other airline. Qantas has been first or second to introduce the 16 major safety enhancements introduced in the past 60 years.

Qantas has been the lead airline in virtually every major operational safety advancement over the past 60 years and has not had a fatality in the pure jet era. 

NOTE: Qantas has faced unique challenges since the beginning of the pandemic in 2020, laying off 6,000 workers in July and a further 2,000 in November. The airline has reopened bookings for international flights from July 2021 after being grounded for months due to the health crisis.

Safest Airlines - Qantas
Qantas named as the Safest Airline for 3 years

World’s Top 20 COVID-19 Compliant Airlines

For the first time in history, Airlineratings.com also listed the top 20 airlines for COVID-19 compliance.

Each of the airlines on the list has “gone above and beyond” to protect passengers and make travel flexible.

For instance, Qatar Airways has provided face shields as well as masks and Emirates introduce COVID-19 health insurance and an individual health kit.

The website surveyed 430 airlines for COVID-19 compliance found many had changed their policies to achieve the highest ranking.

119 airlines achieve the highest COVID-19 rating of seven stars but it is disappointing to see that 117 get a zero for compliance, or have no information for the public on their COVID policies on their website,” Thomas said.

Qantas, Jetstar and Virgin Australia did not make the list, which is in alphabetical order. The list is in alphabetical order and not order of ranking.

Air BalticEva Air
Air New ZealandJapan Airlines
Alaska AirlinesJetblue
All Nippon AirwaysKLM
Air AsiaKorean Air
British AirwaysLufthansa
Cathay Pacific AirwaysSingapore Airlines
Delta Air LinesSouthwest
 EmiratesQatar Airways
Etihad AirwaysWestjet

Top 10 Safest Low-Cost Airlines for 2021

The website also listed the 10 safest low-cost airlines, in recognition that budget travel should also be safe. In alphabetical order they are:

  • Air Arabia – Emirati low-cost airline
  • Allegiant Air – American ultra-low cost airline and the ninth-largest commercial airline in the USA.
  • Easyjet – is a British multinational low-cost airline
  • Frontier – an American ultra low-cost carrier headquartered in Denver, Colorado.
  • Jetstar – is an Australian low-cost airline and wholly owned subsidiary of Qantas.
  • Jetblue – is a major American low cost airline, and the seventh largest airline in North America.
  • Ryanair – is an Irish ultra low-cost airline founded in 1984.
  • Vietjet – is an international low-cost airline from Vietnam.
  • Westjet – is a Canadian low-cost airline.
  • Wizz Air -is a Hungarian ultra low-cost airline.
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