The coronavirus pandemic made flying a particularly dicey proposition in 2020 for many travelers, and there's no telling what the state of the airline industry will look like as COVID-19 continues to spread into the New Year. But for those planning to fly in 2021, AirlineRatings.com has picked the world's the 20 safest airlines to book a flight on right now.
CNN reports that the website analyzed 385 airlines from across globe, measuring crash and serious incident records, the age of aircraft, and other key factors. "The challenge this year was the number of airlines that were flying, although our Top 20 safest airlines have all continued to fly or had limited cessation of flights," AirlineRatings editor-in-chief Geoffrey Thomas told CNN Travel.
Australia's Qantas took the top spot for 2021, thanks in part to a retraining program that requires pilots to undergo a six-day course before returning to service after time out during the pandemic. Quantas was also awarded the world's safest airline title every year from 2014-2020 except in 2018, when AirlineRatings said it could not find a clear winner.
Even with a readjusted rating system that allows for greater accuracy in 2021, Quantas reigned supreme this year.
"Over the past two years we have become aware that some airlines, which had passed bi-annual safety audits, were not on a day-to-day basis following the operational disciplines required by the auditors," Thomas said. Therefore, a five-year audit of serious safety incidents was used to narrow down the top 20.
"Accidents and incidents make up five of our seven star rating with audits accounting for one and Covid-19 compliance the final star for a maximum seven-star ranking," Thomas said. "They are not taking anything for granted and our inquiry level has tripled over the past six months on a variety of safety issues, not just Covid-19."
Here are AirlineRatings' list of the world's 20 safest carriers: