Encouragingly, North America, Europe, the Middle East, and Asia Pacific are all well-represented for safety in the top 20 airlines.
Despite two years of mass flight cancellations, widespread international border closures, unprecedented financial struggles, and plenty of uncertainty, commercial aviation remains a bastion of safety.
Much like 2020 was, 2021 proved to be another incredibly difficult year for airlines as the plunge in air travel continued due to the impact of the ongoing pandemic. Even now, two years after Covid-19 first began making global headlines, there are still far fewer flights and passengers taking to the skies.
The pandemic has also led to some significant changes in the annual list of the world’s safest airlines from AirlineRatings.com, an airline safety and product review website.
Encouragingly for passengers, no one region dominates in the top 20 safest airlines, suggesting that the industry as a whole — at least the big players — still put safety at the forefront. For most airlines, safety has taken on an even broader meaning, applying not only to aircraft operations but to passenger and crew health and hygiene, too.
For 2022, out of some 385 carriers worldwide which were evaluated for their crash and serious incident records and the average age of their aircraft, as well as Covid-19 protocols and operational innovations, Air New Zealand came out on top in the world’s safest airlines list.
The flag carrier airline for New Zealand was awarded first place “due to its excellent incident record, number of cockpit innovations, pilot training and very low fleet age,” according to Geoffrey Thomas, editor-in-chief of the Australian-based AirlineRatings.com website.
Etihad Airways took second place, while Qatar Airways came in third, with Singapore Airlines and TAP Portugal achieving fourth and fifth place, respectively.
“The last two years have been extremely difficult for airlines with Covid-19 slashing travel and AirlineRatings editors have particularly focused on the lengths airlines are undertaking to retrain pilots ahead of a return to service,” explained Thomas. “Air New Zealand is a leader in this field with comprehensive retraining.”
The airline also received praise for being a world leader in operational safety advancements over the past four decades. Its various initiatives include recently becoming one of the first airlines in the world to trial the use of Assaia Apron AI technology to improve its aircraft turnaround times.
“Air New Zealand has excelled across the broad safety spectrum, never losing sight of the smallest detail while caring for its flight crews who have worked under significant stress,” Thomas explained in an interview with CNN Travel.
Without further ado, here are the world’s 20 safest airlines, as ranked by AirlineRatings.com:
- Air New Zealand
- Etihad Airways
- Qatar Airways
- Singapore Airlines
- TAP Air Portugal
- Alaska Airlines
- EVA Air
- Virgin Australia/Virgin Atlantic
- Cathay Pacific Airways
- Hawaiian Airlines
- American Airlines
- British Airways
- Delta Air Lines
- United Airlines
The website also separately named the world’s safest budget/low-cost carriers, and Malaysia-based AirAsia failed to make the cut, for reasons unknown. The top 10 list of safest low-cost airlines follows, with the difference from the overall list being that the budget airlines are listed alphabetically, rather than in ranked order, and considered equally safe:
- Allegiant Air
- Frontier Airlines
- Jetstar Group
- Vietjet Air
- Wizz Air
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