By Kari Paul, MarketWatch
Last year was the safest on record for air travel, with no fatal crashes on commercial airlines and the fewest deaths in history on small carriers.
However, only two of the safest airlines was based in the U.S.
The safest airlines, according to a new report from AirlineRatings.com, are largely based in Asia and the U.K. Rated alphabetically, the safest airlines to fly are Air New Zealand, Alaska Airlines /zigman2/quotes/200972303/composite ALK -5.02% , All Nippon Airways, British Airways, Cathay Pacific Airways /zigman2/quotes/203532437/delayed HK:293 -5.03% , Emirates, Etihad Airways, EVA Air, Finnair /zigman2/quotes/200297452/delayed FI:FIA1S -5.25% , Hawaiian Airlines /zigman2/quotes/203188135/composite HA -7.10% , Japan Airlines /zigman2/quotes/200421658/delayed DE:JAL +0.64% , KLM /zigman2/quotes/201457369/composite KLMR -2.10% , Lufthansa /zigman2/quotes/201210530/delayed XE:LHA -2.09% , /zigman2/quotes/205878984/delayed DE:QAN -4.46% , Royal Jordanian Airlines, Scandinavian Airline System, Singapore Airlines /zigman2/quotes/208369943/delayed SG:C6L -1.04% , Swissair, Virgin Atlantic and Virgin Australia.
‘When there are accidents they generally call on the U.S. to investigate.’
Paul Hudson, president of FlyersRights.org
In calculating the ratings, AirlineRatings.com took into account only large incidents that caused safety issues for passengers, as well as which airlines launch safer air crafts with better technology, the site’s editor-in-chief Geoffrey Thomas, said.
“All airlines have incidents every day and many are aircraft manufacture issues, not airline operational problems,” he said. “And it is the way the flight crew handles incidents that determines a good airline from an unsafe one.” (Airlines for America, an advocacy organization for domestic airlines, was not immediately available for comment.)
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However, because there are very few accidents in the air travel space, those rankings are difficult to make, Paul Hudson, president of FlyersRights.org said. In 2017, there were only 13 fatalities in crashes of smaller aircraft, according to a report released Tuesday by the Dutch aviation consulting firm To70, down from 217 deaths in 2016, 471 deaths in 2015, and 864 deaths in 2014.
What’s more, the U.S. is among the top in the world for investigating accidents, from the traditional “ black box ” collecting plane crash information to new technologies like satellite-based data collection.
“When there are accidents they generally call on the U.S. to investigate,” Hudson said. “A big part of safety is figuring out what went wrong when an accident occurred, and we have the best team for that in the U.S.”