These are the world's safest airlines for 2020 + the major ones that went bust in 2019

2020-01-03 14:45 - Selene Brophy
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Qantas has been named the safest airlines in the world for 2020 by safety, and product rating website,

Launched in June 2013, the body rates the safety and in-flight product of 405 airlines using what it calls its "unique seven-star rating system". 

It is unfortunate to note that not a single African carrier is listed for the year ahead. The Top Twenty Safest Airlines list "evaluates factors include audits from aviation’s governing and industry bodies, government audits, airline’s crash and serious incident record, profitability, industry-leading safety initiatives and fleet age". Editor-in-Chief Geoffrey Thomas  says, “All airlines have incidents every day and many are aircraft manufacture issues, not airline operational problems.

"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. Some countries’ incident reporting systems are weak, which further complicates matters."

In selecting Qantas as the world’s safest airline for 2020, notes, "the Australian airline has been 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 as well as precision approaches around mountains in the cloud using RNP."

READ: Hello 2020! The biggest changes to the way we travel in the last decade

The Top 20 list of the safest airlines in the world for this year is as follows:

1. Qantas

2. Air New Zealand

3. EVA Air

4. Etihad

5. Qatar Airways

6. Singapore Airlines

7. Emirates

8. Alaska Airlines

9. Cathay Pacific Airways

10. Virgin Australia

11. Hawaiian Airlines

12. Virgin Atlantic Airlines

13. TAP Portugal

14. SAS

15. Royal Jordanian

16. Swiss

 17. Finnair

18. Lufthansa

19. Aer Lingus

20 KLM.

Towards the end of 2019, Airline Ratings also named Air New Zealand the Best Airline in the World. This list looked at key criteria such as fleet age, passenger reviews, profitability, investment rating, product offerings, and staff relations. Combined with its second place ranking for safety - it makes Air New Zealand quite appealing when it comes to choosing an airline.  

READ: These are the best airlines for 2020 as Singapore loses its crown

Airlines that went bankrupt in 2019

But while some airlines are flourishing - others are floundering. Increased competitiveness, cost pressures and high fuel prices are the most common causes of airline bankruptcy. 

And the past 12 months have been a record-breaker in terms of bankruptcies, as nearly 20 carriers have ceased operation so far. But this number may increase before the end of the year, according to flight compensation company GIVT

Locally South African Airways is on the slippery business rescue slope. So how is this different from outright bankruptcy?  Business rescue will either rescue SAA through restructuring or develop a plan that would deliver a better return for creditors or shareholders than would result from immediate liquidation.  

The impact of Thomas Cook’s bankruptcy earlier in August 2019, gives insight into why this controlled route for SAA is necessary. In addition to the thousands of passengers forced to cut their holidays short and the cost of their repatriation, the knock on effect in other tourism sectors such as hoteliers has been considerable. 

The end of 2018 into 2019 has also seen a lengthy battle for local carrier CemAir - but they have since had their operating license renewed. 

READ: CemAir set to resume flights with 7 of its planes after receiving renewed operating certificates

Other bankruptcies this year were Brazilian airline Avianca Brasil and Indian Jet Airways. 

Adria - Slovenia ‘s national carrier, Germania, Icelandic WOW Air, as well as France’s Aigle Azur also disappeared from the market. Kenya's regional carrier Silverstone Air had its license suspended, while Cypriot Cobalt Air and Icelandic Primera Air aircraft have also been grounded. 

SEE: 10 biggest carriers gone but not forgotten in the last decade 

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