Airline Safety Records – No Room for Complacency
Air travel is considered to be one of the safest transportation forms, however air accidents still occur.
According to Jet Airliner Crash Data Evaluation Centre (JACDEC) - based on the measurement of Revenue Passengers Kilometres, fatalities among all occupants on board, hull losses, incidents, IOSA, time weighting factor and the transparency of the controlling authority of Aircraft Accident Investigation, Emirates in UAE was rated the safest airline in 2018, followed by Norwegian and Virgin Atlantic.
Meanwhile Qantas was rated as the safest after Airlineratings.com and industry rankings’ reports in 2019. It was mentioned that Australia has an enviable safety record. Australian skies are relatively easy to navigate and rarely encounter bad weather to contend with; also, low traffic movements. However, it’s undeniable that Qantas maintains their aircraft to an exceptional standard and has one of the tightest regulatory environments in the world, plus their excellent training.
There are of course many reasons that incidents/accidents happen:
It can be mechanical failure even though engines are significantly more reliable nowadays than they were half a century ago. Sometimes, with new technology occurs new types of failure, an example is the withdrawal of the de Havilland Comet aircraft model with issue of hazard – metal fatigue brought on by the hull’s pressurisation cycle.
Human error (the proportion of crashes caused by human error stands at around 50% according to Director of the Civil Safety and Security Unit)
Weather can cause an accident at any time.
According to Patrick Smith, a US pilot and author of Cockpit Confidential, when planes get older, they come under ever greater scrutiny so higher chance of incidents/accidents if the maintenance job is not done appropriately.
Helen Coffey’s analysis mentioned on Independent that the world’s safest aircraft with fatality-free records are: Boeing 717 (known as MD95 also), CRJ700/900/1000 regional jet, A380 superjumbo, Boeing 787, Boeing 747-8, Airbus A350, Bombardier C Series, A340 and the Airbus A320 NEO series.
Most outstanding airlines in air safety: Hawaiian Airlines since 1929 never once had a fatal incident - the same with EasyJet from 1995 & Ryanair after 33 years of flying, Virgin Atlantic with accident-free travel record since 1984, Emirates since 1985: These are on the top list of safest airlines by traveller.com.au.
The safest year in aviation history was 2017 with 10 accidents and 44 lives lost.
It is worth noting that this decade has been the safest in aviation history. By contrast, the 1970s saw the highest number of fatalities.