Yesterday I wrote a post asking if flying is still safe, but decided to delve a little deeper and see if it’s possible to tell which airlines are the safest and which are the most dangerous. Armed with this information I could in future opt to only fly with what are considered to the safest airlines. So, let’s take a look at what I found.
Planecrashinfo.com has some great information on aviation accidents, but read their disclaimer before continuing. Stats like this will never be 100% accurate, but I think they can paint a good overall picture, which is what I’m after.
Some of their stats have really made me think about which airline I fly with. In the past I’ve usually just chosen the cheapest flight on a particular route because I assumed that all these airlines met certain safety standards and were much the same. I did avoid any that appeared to have a very bad reputation though.
The first thing that surprised me about the information I found on the above site was the safety difference between they 50% of safest airlines and the rest. Based on data from 1993-2012, the site took 78 major world airlines and split them into 39 with the best accident records and 39 with the worst accident records. The chance of being killed on a single flight with one of these airlines is 1 in 4.7 million. But sit up and listen to the next bit. The chances of being killed on a single flight with one of the bottom 39 airlines is 1 in 2 million, while it’s only 1 in 19.8 million on a flight with one of the top 39 airlines.
To put that another way, you have almost 10 times the chance of being killed on a single flight with one of the bottom 39 airlines, compared to one of the top 39 airlines. Personally, I’d be prepared to pay extra to fly with one of the safest airlines.
But this data just compares the top 50% to the bottom 50%. I would guess that the difference between the top 5 and bottom 5 airlines is much larger. But bear in mind that this is data from 1993-2012, so what was true then might not be true now for individual airlines. Some at the bottom may have been accident prone in the 1990s but improved since then. This is past data, but I still think it’s a good illustration of the differences between airlines.
But which airlines have the best records? I couldn’t find this info on the above site, but I did find a list of the top 10 safest airlines.
Top 5 Safest Airlines
The top 10 safest airlines list is based on intercontinental airlines that have had the fewest accidents since 1985 and that have also made a minimum of one million flights. You can get the full details from the link above, but here are the top 5:
1. British Airways – no fatal accidents since 1976, with over six million flights undertaken.
2. Air Canada – 4.84 million flights since its last fatal accident in 1983.
3. All Nippon Airways – No fatal accidents since 1971.
4. Quantas – No fatal accidents since 1951, with over 2.5 million flights undertaken.
5. Finnair – No fatal accidents since 1963.
If you’re interested in doing some further research, check out the following sites.
Don’t forget that air travel is still the safest form of transport, and that the likelihood of you being involved in an accident is extremely low indeed.