Flying on airlines from Australia, New Zealand, the UK, USA and Canada, passengers can generally assume airline safety. However, when your travels take you to places like Indonesia and Nepal, and you have a choice of carriers you may want to do a little research before buying that ticket.
Various national, regional and international bodies rate the safety of countries or airlines. See below for detailed results from the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), the European Commission and the International Air Transport Association (IATA). For a combination of these results and other safety factors see airlineratings.com.
Is the airline safe? (According to airlineratings.com)
Airlineratings.com is a one-stop airline safety rating review website. The safety ratings are from one to seven stars with seven being the highest ranking. The rating system takes into account a number of different factors related to audits from aviation’s governing bodies and lead associations (including the four shown below) as well as each airlines own safety data.
See and compare safety ratings by airline. Every airline has a safety rating breakdown with additional detailed information.
Does the country have a safe aviation system? (According to ICAO)
The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) is a UN specialized agency tasked with ensuring a safe, efficient, secure, economically sustainable and environmentally responsible civil aviation sector. ICAO performs safety oversight audits under the Universal Safety Oversight Audit Programme (USOAP) to evaluate the safety oversight capabilities of its Member States (countries). The programme monitors eight core areas of a member states aviation system.
- Primary Aviation Legislation and associated civil aviation regulations
- Civil Aviation Organizational structure
- Personnel Licencing activities
- Aircraft Operations
- Airworthiness of civil aircraft
- Air Navigation Services
- Accident and Serious incident investigations
Click on a country on the USAOP Results page to see how it rates (0-100%) in each of these eight categories and compares to the global average.
Does the country have a safe aviation system? (According to the FAA)
The U.S. Aviation regulator, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) runs the International Aviation Safety Assessment (IASA) program. IASA determines whether a country’s oversight of its air carriers complies with safety standards established by ICAO. Countries are classified as Category 1 – compliant or Category 2 – non-compliant. Category 2 country air carriers are banned from operating to the U.S. or codesharing with U.S. air carriers.
Click on ‘Results’ on this FAA page to see the Excel spreadsheet (so high tech) detailing Category 1 and 2 countries. At the time of publish Category 2 countries included Bangladesh, Ghana and Thailand.
Is the airline safe? (According to the EC)
The European Commission maintains the EU Air Safety List of airlines that do not meet international safety standards, and are therefore subject to an operating ban or operational restrictions within the European Union. The first list (Annex A) includes all airlines banned from operating in Europe. The second list (Annex B) includes airlines that are restricted from operating under certain conditions in Europe.
The EU Air Safety Lists (ooh, a PDF) can help you choose a safe airline in a less than safe country. For example at the time of publish the list included “all air carriers certified by the authorities with responsibility for regulatory oversight of Indonesia, with the exception of Garuda Indonesia, Airfast Indonesia, Ekspres Transportasi Antarbenua, Indonesia Air Asia, Citilink, Lion Air and Batik Air.”
Is the airline safe? (According to IATA)
The International Air Transport Association (IATA) is a trade association of the world’s airlines. To gain and maintain membership of IATA, airlines are subject to the IATA Operational Safety Audit (IOSA) program, an evaluation system designed to provide a global benchmark for airline safety management. The total accident rate for IOSA carriers between 2011 and 2015 was 3.3 times lower than the rate for non-IOSA operators.
Check if your airline is on the IATA Registry (holey moley, it’s a webpage with a map and a search function!)