I do not think that a safety ranking list of modern airlines could really avoid a certain grade of unfairness but it is surely possible to consider a kind of “safety index” taking in account the number of occurrences, incidents, accidents and inspection results in a certain period of time, for all the airlines and on this basis, drafting a safety ranking list which is just the result of a pure mathematic excercise.
So this is what JACDEC (Jet Airliner Crash Data Evaluation Centre) is doing with its Airline Safety Ranking List, issued every year on the basis of an analysis focusing on the previous year data and finalized with a definition of a JACDEC Safety Index supposed to provide an estimation of the safety for each considered airline.
The JACDEC method could be perceived as controversial as for example, any serious incident or accident might be assigned to a design defect and not to the airline.
However if you filter a certain Airline with the JACDEC criteria, you will end up in obtaining a number between zero (the highest level of safety) and 1, this is the JACDEC Safety Index.
The application of the JACDEC methodology to the main 60 airlines of the World results in the following list, which refers to the situation in 2017, based on values of 2016:
JACDEC is not only actually focusing on the above list as it also offers a wide range of services related to aviation safety matters analysis and I would like to recommend you to visit their website in order to learn more about them, their methods and the data they gather (JACDEC Web Site).
According to JACDEC the top 3 european airlines of 2017 are:
- TAP Portugal
(You might be also interested to see the EU safety List, which will be subject to another post).