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Best and worst airlines

Travel website reveals what it believes to be the world's best and worst airlines

Head of International Travel Law Nick Harris

Author:
Dated: 2nd February 2016

Topping the AirlineRatings.com poll for the 3rd consecutive year was Qantas, cited as the safest airline in the world.

The site said the Australian carrier was favoured for its record of no fatalities, along with various other aspects of its service.

British Airways no longer in top 10

Air New Zealand was runner-up, with Alaska Airlines just behind. The rest of the first 10 comprised All Nippon, American, Cathay Pacific, Emirates, Etihad, EVA Air and Finnair.

Provided such a site prompts carriers to adopt best practice, these surveys are to be welcomed."

Nick Harris, Simpson Millar Solicitors

With British Airways plummeting from the top 10, the only major UK airline to make the first 20 was Virgin Atlantic, which was rated 19th.

The site's top 7-star rating was given to 148 of the carriers surveyed, with British Airways scoring 6. Malaysia Airlines, which lost 2 planes in 2014, equalled Ryanair on just 5 stars.

IATA standards key to high rating

Airlines were included for exemplary safety records and meeting standards set out by IATA (International Air Transport Association), to which Ryanair, the largest budget carrier in Europe, is not affiliated.

Further decisive factors were audits officially conducted at government and airline authority level, incidents reported over the last year and each carrier's record of fatalities.

Best and worst airlines survey results from AirlineRatings.com

At the bottom of the AirlineRatings listing with 1 star each were carriers based in south and south-east Asia, particularly in Nepal, Indonesia and Suriname. Jin Air, a budget arm of Korean Air, recently made news when 1 of its Boeing 737s took off with a door partially ajar.

A new category, the best budget airline, was headed by Aer Lingus, Flybe and HK Express. Thomas Cook and TUI Fly were rated respectively 6 and 7.

"Time will prove credibility" – Nick Harris

Nick Harris, head of travel law at Simpson Millar LLP, said it takes time for surveys like those of AirlineRatings.com to establish credibility with customers.

"Obviously a one-off survey that's never to be repeated has no real authority, whereas a regular yearly assessment is more likely to gain traction," Nick said.

"If the findings of AirlineRatings.com ultimately prove credible, consumers are in a good position to hold airlines to account by choosing whether or not to fly with them.

"Provided such a site prompts carriers to adopt best practice, these surveys are to be welcomed."

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