Revealed: The 25 safest airlines for 2024 – Air New Zealand is top, Alaska Airlines is


Air New Zealand is now the safest airline in the world, according to analysis by a leading aviation group. 

Australian-based company AirlineRatings.com publishes its list of the world’s safest airlines annually. The site assesses the flight records of 385 carriers, as well as account audits from aviation governing bodies, crash and serious incident records, safety initiatives, pilot training, fleet age and more.  

Last year’s number one airline, Qantas, has slipped to the number two slot, overtaken by Air New Zealand in 2024 by what the site calls ‘an incredibly close’ margin.  

In a list of the 25 safest full-service airlines worldwide, British Airways comes 15th, up two spots from last year’s 17th place.

At number 10 is Alaska Airlines, the highest-ranked American carrier (the ranking was decided before the January 5 flight 1282 door blowout). The USA made a strong showing overall: alongside Alaska, Hawaiian Airlines (21st), American Airlines (22nd), and United Airlines (25th) all qualified for the top 25. Though Delta Air Lines, which was number 20 in 2023, has dropped out of the top 25 for 2024.

AirlineRatings.com has ranked the top 25 safest airlines in the world 2024. Analysing the flight histories of 385 carriers, the site names Air New Zealand as the safest full-service airline worldwide

AirlineRatings.com has ranked the top 25 safest airlines in the world 2024. Analysing the flight histories of 385 carriers, the site names Air New Zealand as the safest full-service airline worldwide

Rivalry for excellence: Qantas and Air New Zealand often jockey for the top spot. Qantas slips to No.2 in 2024, having been awarded the crown in 2023

Rivalry for excellence: Qantas and Air New Zealand often jockey for the top spot. Qantas slips to No.2 in 2024, having been awarded the crown in 2023

TOP 25 SAFEST FULL-SERVICE AIRLINES FOR 2024 

1. Air New Zealand  

2. Qantas 

3. Virgin Australia 

4. Etihad Airways

5. Qatar Airways 

6. Emirates

7. All Nippon Airways 

8. Finnair

9. Cathay Pacific Airways

10. Alaska Airlines

11.  SAS

12. Korean Air 

13. Singapore Airlines

14. EVA Air

15. British Airways 

16. Turkish Airlines 

17. TAP Air Portugal 

18. Lufthansa/Swiss Group

19. KLM

20. Japan Airlines 

21. Hawaiian Airlines

22. American Airlines

23. Air France

24. Air Canada Group

25. United Airlines

Source: AirlineRatings.com

AirlineRatings.com Editor-in-Chief Geoffrey Thomas noted that Air New Zealand ‘has a firm focus on safety and has excelled across the broad safety spectrum right down to the smallest detail’.

Qantas and Air New Zealand often jockey for the top spot – Air New Zealand was previously named the world’s safest airline in 2022, while Qantas nabbed the accolade in both 2023 and 2021. Since 2013, Air New Zealand has been named the safest carrier in the world seven times.

Praise for the airline came with recognition that the New Zealand landscape provides particularly challenging weather environments for pilots. For example, Wellington Airport is regularly named as one of the windiest in the world, as we’ve reported.  

After the top two, the rest of the top 10 safest airlines ranking comprises Virgin Australia (third), Etihad Airways (fourth), Qatar Airways (fifth), Emirates (sixth), All Nippon Airways (seventh), Finnair (eighth), and Cathay Pacific Airways (ninth). 

Editor Geoffrey Thomas was keen to point out that ‘the safety margins between the top 25 airlines are very small’.

He added: ‘Our top 25 safest airlines are all standouts in the industry and are at the forefront of safety, innovation, and launching of new aircraft.’ 

British Airways comes 15th, up two spots from last year's 17th place

British Airways comes 15th, up two spots from last year’s 17th place 

At number 10 is Alaska Airlines, the highest-ranked American carrier (the ranking was decided before the January 5 flight 1282 door blowout)

At number 10 is Alaska Airlines, the highest-ranked American carrier (the ranking was decided before the January 5 flight 1282 door blowout)

TOP 20 SAFEST LOW-COST AIRLINES FOR 2024 

 1. Jetstar

2. EasyJet

3. Ryanair 

4. Wizz

5. Norwegian

6. Frontier

7. Vueling

8. Vietjet

9. Southwest 

10. Volaris 

11. Flydubai

12. AirAsia Group

13. Cebu Pacific

14. Sun Country 

15. Spirit 

16. Westjet 

17. JetBlue

18. Air Arabia

19.  Indigo

20. Eurowings

Source: AirlineRatings.com

In addition to evaluating the safest full-service airlines in the world, AirlineRatings.com also published a list of the 20 safest low-cost carriers (see boxout), with budget Australian airline JetStar nabbing the number one spot. 

British stalwart easyJet is named the second safest of the cheap carriers, just ahead of Ireland’s Ryanair at number three.  

Of the list of 20 low-cost carriers named, Mr Thomas said: ‘These airlines all have an excellent safety culture and a low incident rate.’  

AirlineRatings.com explains that it does not consider phenomena such as bird strikes, turbulence injuries, weather diversions and lightning strikes to produce its lists as carriers have no control over such events.

On the complex issue of incidents, Mr Thomas said that all airlines have incidents every day, and many are aircraft or engine manufacture issues, not airline operational problems.

‘It is the way the flight crew handles these serious incidents that determines a good airline from an unsafe one,’ Mr Thomas said.



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