Safety is First! Here are the World top 15 Safest Airlines in 2021

There's nothing more essential than airline safety when traveling by plane. We wanted to know the details. That's why we gathered data, analyzed, and prepared the top 15 of the world's safest airlines. Enjoy!

The World’s Safest Airlines

When working in the airline industry, there’s one phrase you hear most often: “Safety Is First!” And, of course, this statement is 100% correct. Personally, I only know a few industries that take safety as severe as the airline industry. However, we wanted to know the details. So we gathered data and prepared the list of the world’s top 15 safest airlines.

The World’s Safest Airlines — What and how we Assessed?

Indeed, there are various ways how to assess an airline’s safety quality. Moreover, depending on the method and data, the results might look slightly different. Our ranking is mainly based on data from JACDEC — Center for Aviation Safety Information. JACDEC are accepted airline safety experts and maintain a sophisticated calculation method. Their risk index contains factors, such as accident history, incident history, number of flights, transported passengers, environmental facts, or airline operational risk factors (IOSA, fleet age, route profile, etc.).

Top 15 — The World’s Safest Airlines

#15 — Cathay Pacific

Hong Kong-based Cathay Pacific kicks off the list of the world’s safest airlines. Since commencing operations in 1946, Cathay hasn’t recorded any hull loss. On top of that, Cathay has only encountered twelve serious incidents over a 75 year period. As a result, Cathay Pacific can be proud of the 91.7% risk index.

World's Safest Airlines — #15 Cathay Pacific
World’s Safest Airlines — #15 Cathay Pacific

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Cathay Pacific is Hong Kong’s flag carrier with its head office and hub based in Hong Kong. Cathay operates a fleet of more than 150 aircraft consisting of Airbus A320, A321, A330, A350, and Boeing B777. As one of Asia’s largest airlines, Cathay Pacific flies to 82 destinations across the globe.

File:B-KPM Cathay Pacific.jpg
Cathay Pacific — Source: Wikimedia

#14 — easyJet

easyJet, a relatively young airline, gets 14th place among the world’s safest airlines. During their 25-year history, easyJet did register any hull losses. With 51 incidents, easyJet achieved a risk index of 91.7%. Since we show rounded values, the risk index looks similar to Cathay Pacific. However, on a detailed basis, easyJet achieved a slightly better risk index.

World's Safest Airlines — #14 easyjet
World’s Safest Airlines — #14 easyJet

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easyJet is a British low-cost airline group with headquarters in London. The airline operates an aircraft fleet of more than 300 planes — mainly Airbus A319, A320, and A320. easyJet serves more than 130 destinations, mainly in Europe from various bases. The airline group has more than 14,000 employees.

File:Airbus A319 G-EZIK at Innsbruck.jpg
easyJet — Source: Wikimedia

#13 — KLM

Dutch airline KLM comes in 13th place. However, the world’s oldest airlines (founded in 1920) had to record only one hull loss since 1989. Moreover, KLM recorded only 23 serious incidents. As a result, the airline can be proud of a 92% risk index.

World's Safest Airlines — #13 KLM
World’s Safest Airlines — #13 KLM

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KLM Royal Dutch Airlines is the flag carrier of the Netherlands. The airline is part of the Air France / KLM airline group. With a fleet of almost 120 aircraft, KM operates flights to 145 destinations. KLM’s aircraft fleet consists of Airbus A330 and Boeing B737, B777 as well, as B787. In 2019, KLM had 35,000 employees and transported 35 million passengers.

File:PH-BVF (aircraft) taxiing at Schiphol towards runway 36L pic3.JPG
KLM — Source: Wikimedia

#12 — Virgin Atlantic

1984 founded Virgin Atlantic has not recorded any hull loss and 17 serious incidents. Together with other factors, Virgin Atlantic achieves a risk index of 92%. In a detailed view, Virgin Atlantic’s risk index is only slightly better than KLM’s. Therefore, Virgin Atlantic can be proud to rank 12th among the world’s safest airlines.

World's Safest Airlines — #12 Virgin Atlantic
World’s Safest Airlines — #12 Virgin Atlantic

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Virgin Atlantic was founded in 1984 by Sir Richard Branson. The airline operates a mixed fleet of 37 Boeing and Airbus wide-body aircraft. Virgin Atlantic flies to North America, the Caribbean, Africa, the Middle East, and Asia. With 5,000 employees, Virgin Atlantic has its headquarter and the main hub in London.

File:Virgin atlantic b747-400 g-vbig arp.jpg
Virgin Atlantic — Source: Wikimedia

#11 — jetBlue

Close to the top 10 of the world’s safest airlines, we have the first U.S. airline. JetBlue gets 11th place with a risk index of 92% — again only slightly better than Virgin Atlantic. JetBlue has not recorded any hull loss since it commenced operations in 2000. On top of that, JetBlue recorded twelve serious incidents in the last 21 years.

World's Safest Airlines — #11 jetBlue
World’s Safest Airlines — #11 JetBlue

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JetBlue is a major American low-cost airline and the seventh-largest airline in North America by passengers carried. JetBlue has its headquarters in Long Island City. The airline operates over 1,000 daily flights to 100 domestic and international destinations. JetBlue operates a fleet of 270 aircraft — mainly Airbus A220, A320, A321, and Embraer 190. The airline has some 20,000 employees.

JetBlue — Source: Wikimedia

Top 10 — The World’s Safest Airlines

#10 — Vueling

Spanish carrier Vueling kicks off the top 10 of the world’s safest airlines. Since the start of its operations, Vueling hasn’t recorded any hull loss. Besides that, Vueling had to handle twelve serious incidents. That all sums up to a risk index of 92.1% — again only slightly better than JetBlue, which is ranked 11th.

World's Safest Airlines — #10 Vueling
World’s Safest Airlines — #10 Vueling

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Vueling is a Spanish low-cost airline and part of the International Airlines Group (IAG). The carrier operates two hubs, one in Barcelona and one in Rome. Measured by fleet size (126 aircraft) and the number of destinations, Vueling is Spain’s largest airline. In addition, Vueling serves more than 100 destinations in Africa, Asia, Europe, and the Middle East.

File:EC-IEI Airbus A320-214 Vueling.JPG
Vueling — Source: Wikimedia

#9 — EVA Air

Taiwan’s EVA Air is the first Asian airline in the top 10 of the world’s safest airlines. Like many other airlines in the top 10, EVA Air has not recorded any hull loss since 1989. Moreover, the airline had to manage only seven serious incidents. That all sums up to an excellent risk index of 92.2%.

World's Safest Airlines — #9 EVA Air
World’s Safest Airlines — #9 EVA Air

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EVA Air is a Taiwanese airline based in Taipei. It is a 5-star airline and Taiwan’s second-largest airline. EVA Air operates 85 aircraft and flies to 62 destinations. The aircraft fleet consists of Airbus A321, A330, Boeing B77, 787, and ATR72. In 2018, EVA Air had some 11,000 employees and transported 12.5 million passengers.

File:EvaAirways B767-200 fukuoka 20041023122746.jpg
EVA Air — Source: Wikimedia

#8 — Jetstar Airways

Only slightly better than EVA Air, we have an Australian carrier. Jetstar Airways hasn’t recorded any hull loss since it commenced operations in 2004 and only 11 serious incidents. As a result, Jetstar gets rank eighth and a brilliant risk index of 92.2%.

World's Safest Airlines — #8 Jetstar Airways
World’s Safest Airlines — #8 Jetstar Airways

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Jetstar Airways is an Australian low-cost airline headquartered in Melbourne. The airline operates an extensive domestic route network but also flights to several Asian airports and Oceanian destinations. Jetstar operates a fleet of 70 aircraft out of its hubs in Melbourne and Sydney. The airline’s fleet mainly consists of Airbus A320 (53), A321 (8), and Boeing B787 (11).

File:VH-VFQ Jetstar Airways Airbus A320-232(WL) (32171644361).jpg
Jetstar Airways — Source: Wikimedia

#7 — Transavia

At rank number seven, we have the second Dutch airline (besides KLM). With no hull losses and only eleven serious incidents, Transavia achieves an excellent risk index of 92.5%

World's Safest Airlines — #7 Transavia
World’s Safest Airlines — #7 Transavia

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Transavia was founded in 1966 and is a wholly-owned subsidiary of KLM today. Having two airlines in the top 15 once again underpins the high level of safety at the KLM group. Transavia operates a fleet of 42 aircraft out of its main hub in Amsterdam. In addition, the airline operates a Boeing 737 fleet. In 2018, Transavia carried almost 16 million passengers.

File:PH-HSV (CN 33016) Transavia Airlines Boeing 737-8BK taxiing 21july2013 pic-001.JPG
Transavia — Source: Wikimedia

#6 — Norwegian

Although it is currently unclear whether Norwegian will survive the COVID pandemic, we think it is correct to still list them according to its results. Again similar to many other airlines in this list, Norwegian hasn’t recorded any hull loss since 1989. Together with 17 serious incidents, Norwegian achieves a risk index of 93.3%.

World's Safest Airlines — #6 Norwegian
World’s Safest Airlines — #6 Norwegian

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Norwegian is a low-cost Norwegian airline and the fourth-largest low-cost airline in Europe by passenger numbers (pre-COVID). By the end of 2019, Norwegian operated an aircraft fleet of almost 160 planes. With more than 10,000 employees, the airline transported 37 million passengers to Europe and North America. However, due to COVID-19, Norwegian had to reduce its fleet and staff in 2020 and 2021 drastically.

File:Norwegian air shuttle b737-300 ln-kko arp.jpg
Norwegian — Source: Wikimedia

Top 5 — The World’s Safest Airlines

#5 — Scoot Tigerair

Scoot Tigerair, another Asian carrier, kicks off the top 5. With zero hull losses and an amazing number of four serious incidents, the 2003-founded airline can be proud to get 5th. Taking all factors into account, Scoot achieved an outstanding risk index of 93.9%.

World's Safest Airlines — #5 Scoot Tigerair
World’s Safest Airlines — #5 Scoot Tigerair

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Scoot is a Singaporean low-cost airline and subsidiary of Singapore Airlines. The airline has its headquarters and main hub in Singapore. Scoot operates a fleet of 50 aircraft — mainly Airbus A320, A321, and Boeing B787. The airline flies to 70 destinations and has 2,500 employees.

File:Boeing 787-9 ‘9V-OJG’ Scoot Tigerair (48602546836).jpg
Scoot — Source: Wikipedia

#4 — Finnair

At rank four, we have another European airline. Finnair hasn’t recorded any hull loss since 1989 and only six serious incidents. Accordingly, Finnair achieves a remarkable risk index of 94.7% — only slightly below the airline ranked 3rd.

World's Safest Airlines — #4 Finnair
World’s Safest Airlines — #4 Finnair

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Finnair is Finland’s flag carrier and one of the world’s oldest airlines. Finnair operates a fleet of more than 80 aircraft out of its hub in Helsinki. Finnair is a member of the Oneworld alliance and operates flights to more than 120 destinations in Europe, North America, and Asia. The airline has almost 7,000 employees and carried 12 million passengers in 2018.

Finnair — Source: Wikimedia

The World’s Safest Airlines — Here Comes the top 3

#3 — Air Europa

And here we go with the top 3 of the world’s safest airlines. With Air Europa, it’s a European airline that kicks off the list of the safest carriers. No hull loss since 1989 and eleven serious incidents lead to a risk index of 94.7%. As mentioned, the index is only slightly better than the 4th ranked Finnair.

World's Safest Airlines — #3 Air Europa
World’s Safest Airlines — #3 Air Europa

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Air Europa is Spain’s third-largest airline and bases in Madrid. Air Europa operates a fleet of 36 aircraft — consisting of Boeing B737 (18) and B787 (18). The carrier flies to 44 destinations in Spain, Europe, South America, North America, the Caribbean, and Africa. Moreover, Air Europa is a member of the SkyTeam alliance and has 3,000 employees.

Air Europa — Source: Wikimedia

#2 — Etihad Airways

And the silver medal goes to an airline from the United Arab Emirates. With zero hull losses and 15 serious incidents, Etihad grabs second place and achieves an outstanding risk index of 95.2%.

World's Safest Airlines — #2 Etihad
World’s Safest Airlines — #2 Etihad

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Etihad is the second flag carrier of the United Arab Emirates. The airline has its hub in Abu Dhabi and operates a fleet of more than 100 aircraft. In 2019, Etihad had 20,000 employees (14,000 in 2020) and carried 17.5 million passengers (4.2 in 2020). In pre-COVID times, Etihad operated more than 1,000 daily flights to destinations in Europe, Asia, Africa, Australia, and North America.

Etihad — Source: Wikimedia

#1 — Emirates

Here we go with the winner and the world’s safest airline: Congrats to Emirates. Moreover, amazing to see that both the gold and silver medals go to airlines from the United Arab Emirates. Although Emirates has recorded one hull loss since 1989 and 33 incidents, the airline achieved a risk index of 95.5%.

World's Safest Airlines — #1 Emirates
World’s Safest Airlines — #1 Emirates

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Emirates Airlines was founded in 1985 and operated out of its base in Dubai. The airline operates a fleet of 250 aircraft, mainly Airbus A380 and Boeing B777. With more than 100 Airbus A380, Emirates is the world’s biggest operator of this aircraft. In addition, Emirates Airlines flies to more than 150 destinations all over the world. Pre-COVID, the airline had more than 60,000 employees.

File:Emirates a330-200 a6-eky arp.jpg
Emirates — Source: Wikimedia

The World’s Safest Airlines — What’s your Opinion?

We’d love to get your feedback on the ranking. So leave us a comment and tell us your opinion. Or get in touch with the author on one of the social media channels below.

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Benjamin Walther

CEO, Frankfurt

Benjamin is Information Design's CEO and a proven content-maniac. Besides running a successful business and developing pioneering ideas, he's dedicated to writing blog posts and creating content.

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