A Ranking Of The World's Safest Airlines Dropped & Only One Canadian Company Made The Cut

Westjet placed in the top 20 for low-cost carriers. ✈️

MTL Blog, Associate Editor
​A Westjet plane outside an Air Canada hangar.

A Westjet plane outside an Air Canada hangar.

Most Canadian airlines are not flying high in a 2023 ranking of the safest carriers in the world. Safety monitor AirlineRatings.com reviewed 385 companies, selecting the top 20 safest major and low-cost airlines. Neither Air Canada nor Air Transat made it into this year's list. Westjet did, however, make the cut.

The annual ranking factors in the number of recent crashes, audits from aviation governing bodies, fleet age, expert analysis of pilot training and COVID-19 protocols.

"All airlines have incidents every day, and many are aircraft or engine manufacture issues, not airline operational problems. It is the way the flight crew handles these incidents that determines a good airline from an unsafe one," said Geoffrey Thomas, head of AirlineRatings.com.

"Our top 20 safest airlines in 2023 are always at the forefront of safety innovation, operational excellence, and the launching of new more advanced aircraft like the Airbus A350 and Boeing 787," he said

The list rates airlines from one to seven stars (seven is the highest). Each airline has a safety rating breakdown, so it's clear how they were assessed.

For example, Air Canada lost two stars under 'incident rating,' a category defined by whether an airline has 'suffered numerous, serious pilot-related incidents.'

The site says it has reviewed 11,000 incidents across all airlines over the past five years and analysed trends like runway overrun to reach its determinations.

The rating system was adjusted slightly for low-cost and full-service carriers to account for operational differences.

The top 20 safest airlines (in order):

  1. Qantas
  2. Air New Zealand
  3. Etihad Airways
  4. Qatar Airways
  5. Singapore Airlines
  6. TAP Air Portugal
  7. Emirates
  8. Alaska Airlines
  9. EVA Air
  10. Virgin Australia/Atlantic
  11. Cathay Pacific Airways
  12. Hawaiian Airlines
  13. SAS
  14. United Airlines
  15. Lufthansa/Swiss Group
  16. Finnair
  17. British Airways
  18. KLM
  19. American Airlines
  20. Delta Air Lines

The top 20 safest low-cost airlines (listed alphabetically):

  • Air Arabia
  • AirAsia Group
  • Allegiant
  • Air Baltic
  • easyjet
  • FlyDubai
  • Frontier
  • Jetstar Group
  • Jetblu
  • Indigo
  • Ryanair
  • Scoot
  • Southwest
  • Spicejet
  • Spirit
  • Vueling
  • Vietjet
  • Volaris
  • Westjet
  • Wizz
Sofia Misenheimer
MTL Blog, Associate Editor
Sofia Misenheimer is an Associate Editor for MTL Blog focused on gas prices in Montreal and is based in Montreal, Quebec.
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