Every other day we seem to hear reports of commercial airline failures planes diverted to make emergency landings after in-flight dramas, aircraft grounded due to shonky equipment, near collisions and crew strikes over safety standards and these are just to name a few from this week.
With all the uncertainty in the sky, which is the safest airline to trust with your travel arrangements?
AirSafe.com is an independent fact-gathering website run by a former airline safety analyst in the USA, and it gives consumers an idea of an airline's relative safety by analysing historical performance. But one can't exactly compile a top-ten list of the world's safest airlines a number of factors come in to play when ranking a carrier's safety ranking.
What makes an airline safe anyway?
This particular safety register calculates an airline's 'fatal events' since 1970, based on the number of passengers who lose their lives relative to the total number of onboard passengers. This estimate is then weighted against the number of flights a particular airline operates for example, if a carrier has only operated one flight since the 70s, and all aboard met their maker, that company would have a much higher score than an airline operating a hundred flights a day and has lost a handful of passengers over the last four decades.
So who's the safest down under?
Based on fatality rates alone (not including your in-flight bumps, bruises and busted doors), here is a list of popular carriers that fly in and out of Australasia. Remember the lower an airline's ranking, the safer its track record:
- China Airlines 7.16
- Air India 4.89
- Thai Airways 1.60
- Singapore Airlines 1.50
- Cathay Pacific 1.45
- Air New Zealand 0.74
- United 0.31
and, still the safest airline with a total of zero fatalities ...
- Qantas 0.00
So despite the bad press of late, the kangaroo in the sky is your best bet on arriving alive. But according to the Australian and International Pilots Association's recent government address, carriers across the globe are 'forcing airlines to adopt less safe practices' due to financial pressures.
Are we better off grounded?
In short, no. According to Wikipedia, approximately 744 people were killed globally by commercial airline accidents in 2007. That is roughly equivalent to the number of people who died after being struck by lightning the very same year. So your chances of touching down in one piece are incredibly good, considering the fact that over ten million commercial flights took off last year alone. By comparison, roughly 3,000 people are killed globally every DAY in automobile accidents. So bear down, brave it, but be sure to buckle up.
Is airline safety keeping you on the ground? Any in-flight fiasco preventing you from flying a particular airline ever again?