Are you wondering whether the airline you are going to fly with is really safe?
Good! you are in the right place for some good advise! ūüôā

I will introduce you to a “safety-list” were airlines are drawn up according to their safety and reliability.

Even though I do believe that a safety ranking list of modern airlines is prone to mistake and may certainly be unfair, it is however easy to agree that assigning a score to each given airline by taking in account the known occurrences, incidents, accidents and official inspection results, will give a figure which is just what it is: the result of a pure mathematic exercise!

And guess what?! there is a Company called “JACDEC” (Jet Airliner Crash Data Evaluation Centre)¬†which makes this very exercise, year by year to eventually come up with a List where all airlines are scored with their own¬†Safety Index!

Too easy and inaccurate? maybe yes if you think that (just to make an example) any serious incident or accident might be instead assigned to a design defect and not to the airline itself.

Anyway, if you decide to filter the airlines with the JACDEC criteria, you will end up in obtaining a percentage, from 0% to 100% where:

  • 100% means that you have got a very good airline,
  • 0% means that you might easily be in trouble by flying with so bad ranked airline

According to JACDEC, all airlines start with a virtual ideal value of 100%. Then every accident or incident, every dead person, every injured person, every benchmark, every audit and every risk reduced this value by a calculated penalty. The more penalty values an airline collects, the lower (or worse) its risk index will be!

The Jacdec Safety Index considers several elements, as shown in this picture (2017) (http://www.jacdec.de/about-safety-ranking/)

Each year JACDEC improves its process of analysis and in 2018 new “Environmental Factors” such as¬†USOAP¬†results (an ICAO audit programme),¬†Terrain, Weather and Infrastructure have been introduced along with new “Airline Operational Risk Factors” such as¬†IOSA, Fleet Age, Route Profile, etc .

The JACDEC Safety Index is the outcome of process that you can immagine like a “box or a mixer” where the several inputs are entered and then processed to obtain that output,

So, once everything has been put into such “mixer”, JACDEC needs only to push the start button to finally obtain a result and finally list them in a list like this one: the safest top 20 world airlines of 2018.

(Of course the term “mixer” is actually a complex process of evaluation and analysis, I do not want to offend anybody with it)

According to JACDEC, a 100% Airline means that such airline would have to: 

  • remain free from incidents and accidents of any kind for as long as 30 years,
  • only serve long-haul flights,
  • operate a young fleet (ideal would be between 3 and 9 years),
  • pass all the safety assessments relevant to the airline (IOSA, EU Black List) and the home country (such as USOAP, IASA) with top ratings
  • be uninvolved of any systemic operational risks such as seasonal bad weather conditions, topography or many ocean routes, and
  • operate in a country whose air safety authorities work transparently enough to report on accident reports on a regular basis.

(source: http://www.jacdec.de/about-safety-ranking/)

Let us have also a look to the¬†situation in 2017: at that time JACDEC used a different methodology and a different index, which was then from 0 to 1 (“0” stands for “good” and “1” stands for “bad”).

The main 60 airlines of the World in 2017 (http://www.jacdec.de/airline-safety-ranking-2017/)

By comparing the two lists, some significant change can be noticed, (e.g.) “Norwegian AS” jumped from the 23th to the 2nd position, “Cathay Pacific” dropped from the 1st position to 12th and no Japanese airline in the top 20 of 2018… So I have asked myself whether such surprising changes really reflect the truth and the reality.

OK, according to their website, JACDEC has changed its methodology from 2017 to 2018. Then may we perhaps think that the 2018 results are just more accurate and reliable?
Of course you may think so but personally I am not so sure, with the due respect for JACDEC.

I am conviced that every airline wants to make good business and to do so it is necessary to ensure the safety of both its aircraft and its customers.

Therefore the airlines are always doing their best so I tend to believe that any remarkable change through the years or any score got during a certain year, may simply be just because the random distribution of bad luck that can affect everybody, including the airlines.

Any huge change due to an accident or some big financial loss would have in fact already pointed out by the News and we would not need any specific safety list.

So just relax, flight is still the safest form of travel!

Be that as it may, if you want to learn more about JACDEC, its Safety List, its methods and their gathered data, just visit the JACDEC Web Site

Have a safe flight ūüėČ