It should come as no surprise that Air New Zealand safety sees it again ranked in the top 5 airlines by Airlineratings.com for the 2021 year, with Qantas winning and Qatar, Emirates and Singapore Airlines rounding the Top 5.

Some years, airlines are grouped and some years they are ranked with the evolving criteria Airlineratings uses. Either way, Air New Zealand continues to punch well above its weight in a pool of 385 monitored airlines.

While airlines have flown a fraction of their normal schedules in the last 12 months, assessments were made on an expanded 5 year safety audit. Negative factors that came into play were the fraudulent pilot license scams and bribery. At the other end of the scale factors such as re-training and keeping certifications valid were viewed very positively. Another factor considered that while airlines often appear good on paper, operationally not all safety procedures are followed to the letter.

A seven star rating system was devised to shake out the winner, where accidents and incidents were 5 stars, audits 1 star and COVID-19 compliance 1 star.

Separate lists of COVID-19 compliant airlines and safest low-cost airlines were also generated (see below).

Overall, Qantas emerged as winner for 2021. Pilots there are required to undertake a 6 day course before recommencing cockpit operations.

AirlineRatings.com’s safest airlines for 2021:

  1. Qantas
  2. Qatar Airways
  3. Air New Zealand
  4. Singapore Airlines
  5. Emirates
  6. EVA Air
  7. Etihad Airways
  8. Alaska Airlines
  9. Cathay Pacific Airways
  10. British Airways
  11. Virgin Australia/Virgin Atlantic
  12. Hawaiian Airlines
  13. Southwest Airlines
  14. Delta Air Lines
  15. American Airlines
  16. SAS
  17. Finnair
  18. Lufthansa
  19. KLM
  20. United Airlines

COVID compliant airlines in alphabetical order:

Air Baltic, Air New Zealand, Alaska Airlines, All Nippon Airways, AirAsia, British Airways, Cathay Pacific Airways, Delta Air Lines, Emirates, Etihad Airways, Eva Air, Japan Airlines, Jetblue, KLM, Korean Airlines, Lufthansa, Singapore Airlines, Southwest, Qatar Airways and Westjet.

Safest low-cost airlines in alphabetical order:

Air Arabia, Allegiant, EasyJet, Frontier, Jetstar Group, Jetblue, Ryanair, Vietjet, Westjet, and Wizz Air.

One thing for sure is that by next year, the lists may well have a few names missing, if things continue the way they are.

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