Air Ranking International, a Geneva-based consultancy firm, has just released its inaugural safety ranking of commercial airlines. While the European Union maintains a “blacklist” of airlines that it says do not meet minimum safety standards, the Air Ranking study looked at 33 of the EU-approved carriers to rate them according to 18 criteria, including: number of airplanes in the fleet, average aircraft age, airline turnover, airline profitability, internal maintenance, total miles flown, and number of passengers flown. Using mathematical calculations, researchers distilled the criteria to arrive at the ratings.
American Airlines, Air France/KLM, United Airlines, Delta Airlines and Lufthansa headed the list of safest airlines, while Etihad, TAP, Ryanair, Air Berlin and Easy Jet rounded out the bottom. The study found that most accidents resulted from an accumulation of technical, human and external factors. “Highly experienced pilots can handle technical problems very well; conversely flights without technical problems can go very well with very inexperienced pilots,” said Jean-Pierre Otelli, the company’s chief technology officer. “However, the combination of technical problems and inexperienced pilots can be disastrous.”
According to ARI, while the main priority of its rankings is to provide information to the general public regarding travel choices, more detailed information is available to industry professionals. The ARI ranking will be published annually in the second quarter of the following year.