World’s safest airlines 2018

These are the carriers with the best track record for safety and reliability for this year.

For some, flying can be a nervous experience that brings anxiety and fear, but that shouldn’t stop you from travelling by air. While there are numerous ways to help calm those nerves, choosing a carrier that is renowned for its safety and lack of incidents can make all the difference.

Each year, Airline Ratings releases a list of the top 20 safest airlines in the world. To determine this list, the site monitors and analyses over 400 airlines, taking into account information and audits from the world’s aviation governing body, lead associations and the government as well as the airline’s fatality and crash record. The operational history, incident records and operational excellence of each airline is also reviewed to determine its safety rating.

Top 20 safest airlines in the world (in alphabetical order)

The top 20 safest airline standouts in the industry and are at the forefront of safety, innovation, and launching of new planes.

  1. Air New Zealand
  2. Alaska Airlines
  3. All Nippon Airways
  4. British Airways
  5. Cathay Pacific Airways
  6. Emirates
  7. Etihad Airways
  8. EVA Air
  9. Finnair
  10. Hawaiian Airlines
  11. Japan Airlines
  12. KLM
  13. Lufthansa
  14. Qantas
  15. Royal Jordanian Airlines
  16. Scandinavian Airline System
  17. Singapore Airlines
  18. Swiss
  19. Virgin Atlantic
  20. Virgin Australia

Last year, Qantas was called out as the lead airline in virtually every major operational safety advancement. This year, there was a clear Top 3, with Hawaiian Airlines and Finnair also recognised for having perfect records.

Interestingly, British Airways, Royal Jordanian are new on the list, while American Airlines and United Airlines have slipped out of the top 20.

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How are the world's safest airlines determined?

Assessments of safety are rated out of seven stars.

  1. Being airline IOSA (International Air Transport Association Operational Safety Audit) certified (two stars)
  2. Not being on the European Union Blacklist (one star)
  3. Being fatality free for the past ten years (one star)
  4. Being FAA (Federal Aviation Authority) endorsed (one star)
  5. Originating from a country that meets all eight ICAO safety parameters (International Civil Aviation Organization) (two stars)

No stars are awarded if the airline does not completely meet that criteria. Stars are also docked if the airline's fleet has been grounded by the country's governing aviation safety authority over safety concerns in the past five years or if the airline only operates Russian-built aircrafts.

These are the airlines that scored the highest this year. While this list is in alphabetical order, Australians will be happy to hear that the top-scoring carrier was Qantas, which continues to maintain its standard of excellence and incident-free track record.

How does the World's Safest Airline list compare to the list of top ten best airlines?

Each year, Skytrax releases a list of its top-rated airlines based on an annual customer satisfaction survey. Unsurprisingly, many of the top-rated airlines also appear on the list of the world’s safest airlines, including Qatar Airways, Singapore Airlines, Emirates, ANA All Nippon Airways and EVA Air.

World’s safest low-cost airlines 2018 (in alphabetical order)

Alongside its list of safest airlines, Airline Ratings also announced a list of its top low-cost carriers for flyers on a budget. Jetstar Australia (and Jetstar Asia) made the list with seven stars.

Here are the top ten:

  1. Aer Lingus
  2. Flybe
  3. Frontier
  4. HK Express
  5. Jetblue
  6. Jetstar Australia
  1. Thomas Cook
  2. Virgin America
  3. Vueling
  4. Westjet

The seven airlines ranked lowest for safety (in alphabetical order)

These airlines received only one star for safety by Airline Ratings.

  1. AIr Koryo
  2. Bluewing Airlines
  3. Buddha Air
  4. Nepal Airlines
  1. Tara Air
  2. Trigana Air Service
  3. Yeti Airlines

Stephanie Yip

Stef is the Travel Editor at and has been writing about travel for over a decade. She's visited over 50 countries and has had some incredible experiences, including hot air ballooning over Cappadocia, hitchhiking across Romania and seeing the Northern Lights (twice!). And while she’d never say no to a luxury escape, she's far more likely to stretch her travel dollars as far as they can go by keeping her ear to the ground for unbeatable travel bargains. And she'll tell you all about them, too! Stef has had articles featured on Travel Weekly, Escape and Hostelworld.

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    LuizSeptember 30, 2016

    What means “The only carriers on the list of best airlines that were not included in the top 20 safety list were Turkish Airlines and Garuda Indonesia. Airline Ratings gave Turkish Airlines a safety rating of 6/7 due to a fatality in 2009. Garuda Indonesia received a rating of 3/7 due to a fatality in 2007, for not being FAA endorsed and for not meeting any of the ICAO safety parameters.” I´ll travel by Garuda into Indonésia. I can stay relax?

    • finder Customer Care
      StephanieOctober 3, 2016Staff

      Hi Luiz,

      Thanks for your question.

      Garuda Indonesia is a 5-star airline and is often ranked highly on Skytrax’s best airlines list. Its safety rating with Skytrax is due to a fatality in 2007, however it has not had any fatal incident since then.

      Both the FAA endorsement and the ICAO safety parameters are assessed by governing bodies in the USA and are based on the ability of an airline to meet international standards for operations and aircraft. You can find out more about FAA here and the ICAO here.

      I hope that helps,


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