Airline safety: World's safest airlines named in annual airline safety rankings for 2017

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The world's safest airlines have been named in two sets of annual rankings, with Qantas and Cathay Pacific taking out the number one spots.

The rankings from AirlineRatings.com put Qantas at number one for the fourth year in a row. The website said the Flying Kangaroo's record of zero fatalities in the jet era was extraordinary.

Airline Ratings named the rest of its top 20 safest airlines in alphabetical order: 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 website ranked airlines based on audits from aviation's governing bodies and lead associations; government audits; airline's crash and serious incident record; profitability and fleet age.

Meanwhile, Hong Kong's Cathay Pacific carrier was named the world's safest airline for the third year in a row by Germany's Jet Airliner Crash Data Evaluation Centre, or JACDEC. Air New Zealand followed in second place with China's Hainan Airlines rounding off the top three.

Qantas was named the world's ninth safest airline in the JACDEC rankings, jumping four spots from last year.

Qantas was Australia's only airline named in the top 12 with the full report, featuring 60 airlines, to be released on January 18th.

The lowest ranked airlines in the JACDEC report were China Airlines at number 60, below Avianca and Garuda Indonesia.

Despite recent high-profile incidents, including the November crash of a LaMia jet, killing 71 people including a Brazilian football team, and the loss of a Russian plane carrying a military choir on Christmas Eve, 2016 was the second-safest year on record for air travel.

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JACDEC reported a total of 321 fatalities, 376 incidents, 219 serious incidents and 37 hull lossess amongst the carriers surveyed. Although these numbers may appear high at first glance, 2017 saw about 3.5 billion air passengers fly, which puts the incidents at one death for every 10,769,230 travellers.

2013 remains the safest year on record for flying with 29 fatal crashes and 265 deaths.

Other high-profile accidents in 2016 included the loss of an EgyptAir flight from Paris to Cairo, which disappeared in the Mediterranean in May, and Flydubai Flight 981 which crashed after an aborted landing in Russia.

The world's safest airlines in 2016 (JACDEC rankings)

(Click on the links for Traveller's most recent reviews of the airlines)

  1. Cathay Pacific Airways (Review: Cathay business class)
  2. Air New Zealand (Review: Air NZ premium economy)
  3. Hainan Airlines
  4. Qatar Airways (Review: Business class)
  5. KLM
  6. EVA Air
  7. Emirates (Review: Economy class)
  8. Etihad Airways (Review: Economy class)
  9. Qantas (Review: Business class)
  10. Japan Airlines
  11. All Nippon Airways (Review: Premium economy)
  12. Lufthansa (Review: Economy class)

See also: World's worst airlines named

See also: The real reason lights are dimmed for take-off and landing

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