x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

Etihad and Emirates Airline named among world’s safest airlines

According to the airline rating website airlineratings.com, the UAE’s two flagship carriers were among the 137 airlines awarded a seven star ranking for safety.

Emirates Airline was ranked third by airline rating website airlineratings.com for safety. Jerome Favre / Bloomberg News
Emirates Airline was ranked third by airline rating website airlineratings.com for safety. Jerome Favre / Bloomberg News

UAE airlines Etihad and Emirates have been named as two of the world’s safest airlines in 2013 – the safest year for flying since the dawn of the jet age.

According to the airline rating website airlineratings.com, the country’s two flagship airlines were among the 137 airlines around the world which were awarded a seven star ranking for safety.

The ranking, which takes into account factors including each airline’s fatality record, government audits and audits from governing bodies and associations, found that 2013 was the safest year for flying since records began in 1945, with only 269 deaths recorded from 29 air crashes.

“Safety is and will always be our number one priority. Being named in the airlineratings.com list of the world’s safest airlines is testament to this commitment to our safety culture,” said Etihad Airways’ president and chief executive, James Hogan.

“Etihad Airways will continue to implement the most stringent safety processes and procedures in all areas of our extensive global operations,” he added.

According to the Aviation Safety Network the overall results are well below the 10-year average of 32 accidents and 719 fatalities.

However, out of the 448 airlines surveyed by airlineratings.com, almost 50 came out with the lowest rankings of three stars or fewer.

Bottom of the airlineratings.com ranking with just one star came the Afghan carrier Kam Air, Kazakhstan based airline SCAT Airlines, and Surinam-based Bluewing Airlines.

Daallo Airlines, a Djiboutian airline headquartered in Dubai Airport Free Zone and which was bought by Dubai World subsidiary Istithmar World Aviation in 2007 and subsequently sold in September 2009, was ranked by airlineratings.com in the second worst category with just two safety stars.

It was ranked alongside Afghan Airways, Eritrean Airlines, Indonesian airlines Lion Air, Merpati Airlines and Susi Air and Myanmar-based Air Bagan.

When rated for both safety and product standards Emirates and Etihad ranked third and fourth respectively in the global study.

The Australian flag carrier Qantas, which has had a fatality free record since 1951, topped the rankings, followed by its Antipodean rival Air New Zealand.

Cathay Pacific, Singapore Airlines, Virgin Atlantic, EVA Air, All Nippon Airways and Royal Jordanian also made the top ten.

Improved airline safety records and increasing competition from insurers are also helping to drive down insurance premiums for airlines to levels described as “the softest for a generation.”

According to the insurance broker Willis, although crash related losses for insurance companies were slightly higher than those in 2011 and 2012, insurance premiums for airlines are set to fall to their lowest levels since 2001.

“Major airlines with good loss records and increased exposures are receiving rate reductions in the region of 10 per cent to 20 per cent depending on each individual airline programme,” the insurer said in a recent report.

“There has been in excess of US$100 million eroded from the premium volume to date and this looks set to increase to in excess of US$150 million at the current trend. This will generate an overall premium volume for 2013 of less than US$1.5 billion, the lowest it has been since 9/11.”

Former Russian airline Tatarstan Airlines was the company which suffered the worst air accident last year when a Boeing 737-500 it operated crashed, killing all 44 passengers and six crew aboard. Since then Russia’s air transport regulator has revoked the company’s license.

lbarnard@thenational.ae