'Best of the best' - world's safest airlines for 2017 revealed
Qantas has been ranked the world's safest airline for the fourth year in a row by AirlineRatings.com.
The Australian carrier was cited for its "fatality free record in the jet era", which the website deems "an extraordinary record".
AirlineRatings.com is an Australia-based safety and product rating website.
Launched in 2013, it monitors 425 global airlines, compiling its list of the world's safest airlines based on factors ranging from airline records, profitability and fleet age to audits from aviation's governing bodies and government reports.
Its 20 safest airlines, in alphabetical order, are:
- Air New Zealand
- Alaska Airlines
- All Nippon Airways
- British Airways
- Cathay Pacific Airways
- Delta Air Lines
- Etihad Airways
- EVA Air
- Hawaiian Airlines
- Japan Airlines
- Singapore Airlines
- Swiss air
- United Airlines
- Virgin Atlantic
- Virgin Australia
AirlineRatings.com's editorial team also examined airlines' fleet histories and its track records of initiating new safety technology in finalising its Top 20.
The airlines are the "best of the best", it says.
Despite several high-profile crashes, 2016 was one of the safest years in aviation history, according to the Aviation Safety Network (ASN), which maintains an independent database of all air travel incidents.
19 fatal accidents last year resulted in 325 deaths (or one death per 10,769,230 travellers), it says. Only 2013 saw fewer deaths, with 265.
The deadliest year in aviation history was 1972, according to ASN, during which 2,370 deaths and 72 fatal accidents were recorded.
Of the 425 airlines surveyed for 2017 by AirlineRatings.com, 148 achieve its top seven-star safety ranking - but almost 50 have just three stars or less.
This year, 14 airlines have earned just a single star - all of which are from Afghanistan, Indonesia, Nepal or Surinam.
Aer Lingus features on the website's 10 safest low-cost carriers list.