Aerospace & Defense

2 US Airlines Among World's Safest

airplane
Source: Thinkstock
Given the number of lives lost in 2014 due to airplane crashes, it may seem a bit cynical to review a report on airline safety. However, an airline safety rating website recently announced its list of the world’s safest airlines for 2015, and we noted that two U.S. carriers are among the safest carriers in the world.

The AirlineRatings.com website listed both a top 10 and a low-cost top 10, made up from the staff’s review of the 449 airlines they monitor. The two U.S. carriers that made the top 10 list of low-cost carriers are Alaska Air Group Inc. (NYSE: ALK) and JetBlue Airways Corp. (NASDAQ: JBLU). Other global low-cost carriers on the list, in alphabetical order, include Aer Lingus, Icelandair, Jetstar, Kulula.com, Monarch Airlines, Thomas Cook, TUI Fly and Westjet.

Among the legacy carriers the top 10, in alphabetical order, were Air New Zealand, British Airways, Cathay Pacific Airways, Emirates, Etihad Airways, EVA Air, Finnair, Lufthansa and Singapore Airlines. The U.S. legacy carriers American Airlines Group Inc. (NASDAQ: AAL), Delta Air Lines Inc. (NYSE: DAL) and United Continental Holdings Inc. (NYSE: UAL) all posted the highest possible score (7 of 7 possible stars). Four other U.S. carriers that do not fly foreign routes scored 5 of 5 possible stars: Allegiant Travel Co. (NASDAQ: ALGT), Southwest Airlines Co. (NYSE: LUV), Spirit Airlines Inc. (NASDAQ: SAVE) and Frontier Airlines.

All these carriers have maintained a fatality-free record for at least the past 10 years and meet the other ratings points that AirlineRatings.com has established. It is worth noting that a star may be deducted from an airline’s safety rating if it flies only Russian-built aircraft or if a governing country has grounded the airline’s fleet for safety reasons at any time in the past five years.

2014 was not a particularly good year for airlines safety. The disappearance of Malaysian Airlines flight MH370 with 227 passengers and crew; the loss of another Malaysian Airlines flight over Ukraine that cost the lives of 298 passengers and crew; and the crash of an AirAsia Indonesia flight with 162 lives were responsible for 787 deaths. According to the International Air Transport Association (IATA), these three disasters alone claimed more deaths than all the lives lost in 2010 and nearly four times the number of lives lost in 2013.

The IATA has not compiled 2014 data yet, but the 2013 all-accident rate calculated as the number of accidents per million flights was 2.23 for the industry as a whole and 1.57 for IATA member airlines. There were 36.4 million flights recorded in 2013.

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