Not all airlines are created equal.
Not all airlines are created equal.

The airlines you should never fly with

ANYONE who's ever watched Rain Man knows it already, but now Qantas has officially been named the world's safest airline.

The airline ranks as the best in the world in AirlineRatings.com's awards for 2019, singled out among the 20 airlines listed as the world's safest for its extraordinary safety record and leadership.

It comes more than 30 years after the movie in which Dustin Hoffman's character famously declared: "Qantas never crashed".

Virgin Australia also appears among the top 20 safest airlines in the world, according to AirlineRatings.com's list, while Jetstar Australia was named among the 10 safest low-cost airlines for 2019.

However, the website also named four airlines as the world's worst for safety: Indonesian airline Trigana Air Service; Bluewing Airlines, based in Suriname; and two Afghan carriers, Ariana Afghan Airlines and Kam Air.

Those airlines were awarded just one or two stars according the site's rating system, which takes into account factors including audits, crash and serious incident records, profitability, safety initiatives and fleet age.

AirlineRatings.com monitors 405 airlines globally and says it chose to honour Qantas because over its 98-year history, the world's oldest continuously-operating airline had amassed an amazing record of firsts in operations and safety and was now accepted as the industry's most experienced airline.

The Australian airline was praised as a leader in the development of Future Air Navigation System, the flight data recorder to monitor plane and later crew performance, automatic landings using Global Navigation Satellite System and precision approaches around mountains in cloud using Required Navigation Performance.

"Qantas was the lead airline with real-time monitoring of its engines across its fleet using satellite communications, which has enabled the airline to detect problems before they become a major safety issue," the site's aviation analysts added.

AirlineRatings.com editor-in-chief Geoffrey Thomas said the site only looked at serious incidents in making its determinations.

"All airlines have incidents every day and many are aircraft manufacture issues, not airline operational problems,' he said.

"It is the way the flight crew handles incidents that determines a good airline from an unsafe one. So just lumping all incidents together is very misleading.

"And some countries incident reporting systems are weak further complicating matters."

WORLD'S 20 SAFEST AIRLINES (ALPHABETICAL ORDER)

Air New Zealand

Alaska Airlines

All Nippon Airways

American Airlines

Austrian Airlines

British Airways

Cathay Pacific Airways

Emirates

EVA Air

Finnair

Hawaiian Airlines

KLM

Lufthansa

Qantas

Qatar

Scandinavian Airline System

Singapore Airlines

Swiss

United Airlines

Virgin group of airlines (Virgin Atlantic and Virgin Australia)

WORLD'S SAFEST LOW-COST AIRLINES (ALPHABETICAL ORDER)

Flybe

Frontier

HK Express

Jetblue

Jetstar Australia / Asia

Thomas Cook

Volaris

Vueling

Westjet

Wizz

AirlineRatings.com says these 10 airlines were chosen because, unlike a number of low-cost carriers, they have all passed the stringent International Air Transport Association Operational Safety Audit (IOSA) and have excellent safety records.

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