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Secure skies: Australasian airlines dominate list of world’s safest carriers for 2024

Regaining the title it last won two years ago, Air New Zealand has been named world’s safest carrier by aviation website AirlineRatings.com in its annual list of the planet's safest airlines.

Regaining the title it last won two years ago, Air New Zealand has been named world’s safest carrier by aviation website AirlineRatings.com in its annual list of the planet’s safest airlines.

New Zealand’s national airline reclaimed the honour for 2024 by an “incredibly close” margin over last year’s winner Qantas, who also beat Air NZ by the smallest of margins in 2023

In an Australasian trifecta at the top of the rankings, Virgin Australia was named third safest airline followed by Etihad Airways, Qatar Airways and Emirates.

AirlineRatings.com assesses airlines by looking at factors such as serious incidents, recent fatal accidents, audits from aviation bodies, profitability, safety initiatives, pilot training evaluation and fleet age. 

But the assessment doesn’t include events beyond the airline’s control such as bird strikes, turbulence injuries, weather diversions and lightning strikes.

Air New Zealand Skycouch
Safest airlines
The Air New Zealand Skycouch

In bestowing the honour upon Air New Zealand, AirlineRatings.com recognised the carrier’s commitment to safety, from its pilots who have performed well in “challenging environments” down to the smallest details.

The top 25 safest airlines for 2024 (in order) are Air New Zealand, Qantas, Virgin Australia, Etihad Airways, Qatar Airways, Emirates, All Nippon Airways, Finnair, Cathay Pacific, Alaska Airlines, SAS, Korean Air, Singapore Airlines, EVA Air, British Airways, Turkish Airlines, TAP Air Portugal, Lufthansa/Swiss Group, KLM, Japan Airlines, Hawaiian Airlines, American Airlines, Air France, Air Canada Group and United Airlines.

Virgin Australia airplane take-off
Virgin Australia is among the world’s safest airlines

“Our top 25 safest airlines are all standouts in the industry and are at the forefront of safety, innovation, and launching of new aircraft,” AirlineRatings.com editor-in-chief Geoffrey Thomas said.

“In fact, the safety margins between these top twenty-five airlines are very small.”

“Between Air New Zealand and Qantas there is only 1.5 points. It’s incredibly close.” 

Low cost high flyers

A Jetstar A320 at BNE.
Jetstar, is one of the world’s safest airlines.

Not to be outdone, Jetstar picked up the award for the safest low-cost carrier in the world. 

The Australian airline beat European LCCs easyJet, Ryanair, Wizz and Norwegian to the prize. 

The top 20 safest low-cost carriers for 2024 are Jetstar, easyJet, Ryanair, Wizz, Norwegian, Frontier, Vueling, Vietjet, Southwest, Volaris, flydubai, AirAsia Group (including AirAsia, AirAsia X, AirAsia Thailand, AirAsia Philippines and AirAsia India), Cebu Pacific, Sun Country, Spirit, Westjet, JetBlue, Air Arabia, Indigo and Eurowings.

“These airlines all have an excellent safety culture and low incident rates,” Thomas said.  

In December, Air NZ introduced a new paid seat select option on trans-Tasman flights aptly called ‘Legroom’. 

Last month, the carrier also revealed the ALIA as its first purchase of an all-electric aircraft as part of its Mission Next Gen Aircraft programme.

Read our interview with Air New Zealand’s Nick Lewis, who was awarded Most Outstanding Sales Executive – Air at the NTIAs.