Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 1 June 2020

World's safest low-cost airlines 2020 revealed

AirlineRatings.com has released its latest rankings

When booking a flight with a low-cost airline you find yourself looking at what is missing from a comparable flight with one of the big carriers.

Leg room, baggage allowance and free meals are the obvious areas of concern when paying a much cheaper fare, but what about the safety record?

Of course, on routes in remote areas, there may not be an alternative, but for travellers who do have the choice it can put the mind at ease if they know they are flying with a reputable airline with an excellent safety record.

After all, not all can afford to take a seat in business class on an Airbus A380 as they buckle up for an hours-long trip across continents.

The safety and product rating website AirlineRatings.com has released its top 10 safest low-cost airlines for 2020 list from the total of 405 airlines it monitors - see who made the list in the slideshow above.

UAE connections in the top 10

Sharjah-based Air Arabia made this year's list, having not been included last year.

The low-cost sector in the UAE is set for expansion this year after Etihad Airways and Air Arabia agreed in October to set up Abu Dhabi’s first low-cost airline to capitalise on growing demand for budget travel.

The new airline, dubbed “Air Arabia Abu Dhabi”, will operate out of Abu Dhabi International Airport and is set to start operations by the second quarter.

And it was then confirmed last month that Wizz Air, Eastern Europe's biggest low cost airline which also made the top 10 list, had signed a preliminary agreement with Abu Dhabi Developmental Holding Company to form a local carrier

The venture, known as Wizz Air Abu Dhabi, will operate a fleet of Airbus A321neo aircraft and plan to start operating in the second half of 2020.

Was 2019 a safe year for flying?

It was one of the safest, according to the Aviation Safety Network.

The independent organisation, which compiles annual statistics, recorded a total of 20 fatal airliner accidents, resulting in 283 (occupant) fatalities.

This made it the seventh safest year by number of fatal accidents and third safest in terms of fatalities.

Thirteen of the accidents involved passenger flights while six were cargo.

The most deadly accident was the Ethiopian Airlines crash involving a Boeing 737 Max in March in which 157 lost their lives. The 737 Max fleet has since been grounded, having also been involved in a fatal crash in Indonesia in October 2018.

How are the safest low-cost airlines chosen?

AirlineRatings.com said all of the 10 airlines have all passed the stringent International Air Transport Association Operational Safety Audit (IOSA) and have excellent safety records.

"IOSA is an internationally recognised and accepted evaluation system designed to assess the operational management and control systems of an airline. It looks at more than 1000 audit parameters and airlines are re-evaluated every two years," it wrote.

It added that many low cost airlines are not part of Iata and have not undertaken the audit.

“Those LCC’s that have decided to use IOSA show an additional commitment to safety,’’ said AirlineRatings editor-in-chief Geoffrey Thomas.

Other factors for the decision making include:

• results of audits conducted by the governing body of aviation, The International Civil Aviation Organisation

• whether they are on banned lists

• a fatality-free record for the past 10 years.

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World's safest airlines 2020

Updated: January 3, 2020 03:58 PM

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