Qantas tops world’s safest airlines list again, with Virgin and Jetstar also featuring

Qantas has started 2023 with a feather in its cap, with the Australian national carrier nabbing the title of the world’s safest airline as judged by safety rating website 

Qantas has a long history of maintaining the top spot in the ranks (from 2014 to 2018 and again in 2019 and 2020), until 2022 when the airlines’ winning streak was broken as Air New Zealand flew into the top spot and Qantas moved down several ranks, placing seventh.

But for 2023, the order has been restored as Qantas resumes its position at No.1.

Not far behind, Air New Zealand placed second.

The annual list from the world’s only airline safety and product ratings website covers 385 airlines and curates its list based on a series of factors including serious incidents, recent fatal accidents, audits from aviation’s governing and industry bodies, profitability, industry-leading safety initiatives, expert pilot training assessment and fleet age.

Qantas wasn’t the only Australian airline to feature in the list, Virgin Australia placed 10th in the ranks and Jetstar featured in the top 20 safest low-cost airlines.

“Our top 20 safest airlines are all standouts in the industry and are at the forefront of safety, innovation, and launching of new aircraft,” Airline Ratings editor-in-chief Geoffrey Thomas said in a statement.

The statement went on: “In selecting Qantas as the world’s safest airline for 2023, editors noted that over its 100-year operational history the world’s oldest continuously operating airline has amassed an amazing record of firsts in operations and safety, and is now accepted as the industry’s most experienced airline.”

A year of headlines 

It’s no secret that the pandemic put a strain on airlines and travel, and Qantas was no exception.

The national carrier’s 2022 yearbook featured no shortage of mishaps – from delays and missing baggage to strikes and even requests for executives to trade in their high-profile roles to work as ground handlers during a labour shortage.

The airline even earned the unflattering top spot in the annual Choice Shonky Awards for worst products and services.

Needless to say, the turbulent year saw the airline and its CEO Alan Joyce copping constant criticism.

Just last month a London-bound Qantas flight from Singapore was forced to make an emergency landing in Azerbaijan due to what was believed to be a faulty smoke alarm.

Stranded passengers in Baku, the capital of the eastern European nation, were placed on a recovery flight on Christmas Eve, with the hopes of making it to their destination in time for Christmas.

Dreams of Christmas in London were jeopardised by a smoke alarm, stranding the A-380’s passengers in Azerbaijan. Photo: AAP

On the up and up

Even before the safety gong, it hasn’t all been negative – things seem to be looking up for the flying kangaroo.

In October, Qantas boasted the best on-time performance of any major domestic airline, although it was still a worse result than usual.

Within the same period, it also went from being the worst-performing airline in Australia for cancellations to the best. 

The Top 20 safest airlines

Joining Qantas in the list of the Top 20 safest airlines for 2023 are: 

  1. Qantas 
  2. Air New Zealand 
  3. Etihad Airways 
  4. Qatar Airways 
  5. Singapore Airlines 
  6. TAP Air Portugal 
  7. Emirates 
  8. Alaska Airlines
  9. EVA Air 
  10. Virgin Australia/Atlantic 
  11. Cathay Pacific Airways 
  12. Hawaiian Airlines 
  13. SAS
  14. United Airlines 
  15. Lufthansa/Swiss Group 
  16. Finnair 
  17. British Airways 
  18. KLM 
  19. American Airlines 
  20. Delta Air Lines.

Top 20 safest low-cost airlines

AirlineRatings editors have also curated a separate index of the top 20 safest low-cost airlines for 2023, listed in alphabetical order.

  1. Air Arabia
  2. AirAsia Group
  3. Allegiant
  4. Air Baltic
  5. easyjet
  6. FlyDubai
  7. Frontier
  8. Jetstar Group
  9. Jetblue
  10. Indigo
  11. Ryanair
  12. Scoot
  13. Southwest
  14. Spicejet
  15. Spirit
  16. Veuling
  17. Vietjet
  18. Volaris
  19. Westjet
  20. Wizz.
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