World's safest, and least safe, airlines named in 2018 rankings

Australian travellers can breathe a sigh of relief this year after multiple Australian carriers ranked in the 20 safest airlines for 2018.

The rankings by have placed Qantas in the top 20 list for the fifth year in a row, making the Aussie airline a leader in safety standards.

Australasian airlines Virgin Australia and Air New Zealand also made the list, with Jetstar ranking in the top 10 for world's safest low cost airlines. All received top marks of seven out of seven for safety.

Tigerair failed to make either list, receiving only five out of seven in the site's ratings., an airline safety and product rating website, praised Qantas for its "extraordinary record of firsts in safety and operations".

According to the site, ratings are awarded through stringent audits from the International Air Transport Association Operational Safety Audit (IOSA) and the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO), which evaluate both the operational management and control systems of an airline, as well as a country's airline infrastructure and regulation.

Airlines with the worst safety ranking include North Korea's Air Koryo, which flies to China, Russia, and North Korea in soviet-era planes, as well as four Nepalese airlines - Buddha Air, Nepal Airlines, Tara Air and Yeti Airlines.

See also: Air Koryo serves only one dish - a mystery meat burger

Qantas was an obvious favourite for the rating organisation, with a 7/7 product and service rating. The Flying Kangaroo also won best catering services, best lounges, and best domestic class.


Geoffrey Thomas,'s editor-in-chief praised the Flying Kangaroo.

"Qantas has been the lead airline in virtually every major operational safety advancement over the past 60 years and has not had a fatality in the jet era," he said. "But Qantas is not alone. Long established airlines such as Hawaiian and Finnair also have perfect records in the jet era."

Mr Thomas explained that the ratings were not based simply on the number of safety incidents an airline had suffered. 

"All airlines have incidents every day and many are aircraft manufacture issues, not airline operational problems. And it is the way the flight crew handles incidents that determines a good airline from an unsafe one. So just lumping all incidents together is very misleading," he said.

The rankings arrive as 2017 was confirmed as the safest year on record for commercial air travel, with zero accident deaths recorded for commercial passenger jets.

There were just 44 deaths in 2017, equalling one fatal accident for every 7.36 million departures.

This is in stark contrast to the deadliest year of all time for aviation when, in 1972, there were 2469 deaths for 9.5 million departures.

The average number of airline accidents has continued to steadily decline since 1972, with the exception of 2014 when 18 commercial accidents led to 961 deaths.

The world's top 20 safest airlines (in alphabetical order)

Click on the links to read Traveller's reviews of the airlines

Air New Zealand (Review: Premium economy)

Alaska Airlines (Review: Economy class)

All Nippon Airways (Review: Premium economy)

British Airways (Review: Economy class)

Cathay Pacific Airways (Review: A350 premium economy)

Emirates (Review: Economy class)

Etihad Airways (Review: Economy class)



Hawaiian Airlines (Review: Economy extra comfort class)

Japan Airlines (Review: Premium economy)


Lufthansa (Review: Economy class)

Qantas (Review: Dreamliner business class)

Royal Jordanian Airlines

Scandinavian Airline System (Review: Premium economy)

Singapore Airlines (Review: Economy class)

Swiss (Review: Business class)

Virgin Atlantic (Review: Premium economy)

Virgin Australia (Review: Business class)

The world's least safe airlines (alphabetical)

Air Koryo

Bluewing Airlines

Buddha Air 

Nepal Airlines

Tara Air

Trigana Air Service

Yeti Airlines

See also: World's best airline for 2017 named as Qantas hits lowest ranking

See also: Australians name their best airline of the decade