Published On: Fri, Jan 27th, 2017

Airlines serving Caribbean among world’s safest

KLM_Boeing_777-200ER_Closeup_PH-BQO_YULAustralia-based Aviation website AirlineRatings.com has revealed its latest list of the world’s safest airlines, and it’s good to know that several carriers serving the Caribbean secured places in both the major and low-cost categories.

It also comes as good news that despite some high-profile accidents and mysteries, such as the loss of Malaysia Airlines’ MH370, the number of aircraft crashes has been steadily declining over the past 20 years.

Against the backdrop of last year emerging as one of the safest in aviation history, AirlineRatings.com named 20 leading carriers as the world’s best at ensuring passenger protection for 2017.

AirlineRatings.com’s rating system takes into account audits from aviation’s governing bodies and lead associations as well as government audits and the airlines’ fatality records.

It also examines airlines’ operational histories, incident records and operational excellence.

Thus, American Airlines and Emirates dropped out of this year’s list due to incidents and accidents they suffered in the last 12 months.

Similarly, British Airways and Delta Air Lines, which both had serious incidents in 2015, have now moved back into the top 20.

AirlineRatings.com says if an airline has a crash that involves the death of a passenger and/or crew members it will automatically lose a star from its safety-rating rankings for a period of 10 years.

Of the 425 airlines surveyed, 148 have the top seven-star safety ranking but close to 50 have just three stars or fewer.

A total of 10 airlines, including one from Suriname, qualified for just one star. The others came from Indonesia, Nepal and Afghanistan.

Meanwhile, the best of the best for aviation safety, for the fourth successive year, was Australian carrier Qantas.

AirlineRatings.com, which launched its annual listing in 2013, says Qantas “remains the standout in safety enhancements and operational excellence” with a flawless record of no fatalities since the advent of jet travel.

Completing the top 20 in alphabetical order are: Air New Zealand, Alaska Airlines, All Nippon Airways, British Airways, Cathay Pacific Airways, Delta Air Lines, Etihad Airways, EVA Air, Finnair, Hawaiian Airlines, Japan Airlines, KLM, Lufthansa, Scandinavian Airline System, Singapore Airlines, Swiss, United Airlines, Virgin Atlantic and Virgin Australia.

The organization also named its top 10 low-cost airlines for 2016. These are, in alphabetical order: Aer Lingus, Flybe, HK Express, Jetblue, Jetstar Australia, Jetstar Asia, Thomas Cook, Virgin America, Vueling and Westjet.

Unlike a number of low-cost carriers, these airlines have all passed the rigorous International Air Transport Association Operational Safety Audit (IOSA) which has more than 1,000 audit items.

Special mention should go to Flybe, whose impeccable safety record has been unblemished by unusual recent events including a bee attack on a pilot and an incident in which a pilot’s prosthetic arm fell off.

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