By Beatrice Thomas
Three regional carriers were ranked in the top ten, from a global list of 448 operators
Three Middle Eastern airlines have been named among
the top ten safest in the world in 2013, according to industry website AirlineRatings.com.
The international safety and product rating website
monitored 448 airlines last year, with a team of eight editors from around the
globe taking into account audits from aviation governing bodies and lead
associations as well as government audits and the airline’s fatality record.
Of the 137 airlines to achieve the highest
seven-star rating, Emirates was ranked third overall, with Etihad ranked fourth.
Royal Jordanian was ranked tenth.
It comes as Emirates also picked up three major
awards at the AirlineRatings.com Airline Excellence Awards in New Zealand on
Monday night for Best First Class, Best In-flight Entertainment and Best Long
Haul Airline based in the Middle East and Africa.
Australian national carrier Qantas topped the
safest airline list with a fatality-free record since the jet era began around
AirlineRatings.com editor Geoffrey Thomas said the
results for the Middle Eastern airlines was testament to their business
“Middle East airlines such as Emirates and Etihad
have been very astute and employed the best of the best across the board
whether it be airline network, operational or engineering people or the best
pilots,” Thomas told Arabian Business.
He said because of their focus on excellence those
airlines have also looked to the best, such as Qantas, and aimed to match the
airline or do better.
“They know what works, they know what doesn’t,
they’ve offered very attractive packages to the right people and they’ve got on
board what is arguably the cream of the cream of pilots and the results are
there,” he said.
Royal Jordanian president and CEO Amer Hadidi said
it was proud of what he described as a prestigious international ranking in
such a priority area of operations.
“This reflects the effectiveness of RJ’s employees,
the airline’s keenness to apply the highest safety standards in the air and on
the ground, and to provide its passengers with distinguished services,” he said.
The website noted that almost 50 airlines had just
three stars or less. Among the airlines with two stars was Daallo Airlines,
which says it is headquartered in the Dubai Free Zone and operates passenger,
cargo, chartered and mail services to Africa and the Arabian Peninsula.
However, Thomas said AirlineRatings.com counted the
airline’s main hub and centre of operations as Djibouti–Ambouli International
Other airlines to rate poorly were national
carriers Afghan Airways and Eritrean Airlines, Indonesian operators Lion Air,
Merpati Airlines and Susi Air and Burmese airline Air Bagan.
The lowest ranked airlines with one star, according
to the website, were Kam Air (Afghanistan), Scat (Kazakhstan) and Bluewing
AirlineRatings.com, a joint venture between
Australian media company Seven West Media and Technical Publications International, said 2013 was the safest for
flying since 1945, with only 269 deaths from 29 accidents.
According to the Aviation Safety Network the
results were well below the 10-year average of 32 accidents and 719 fatalities.
The worst accident was the November crash of a
Tatarstan Boeing 737-500 from Moscow to Kazan, which killed all 44 passengers
and six crew aboard.
However, it said the most miraculous escape was for
the 304 passengers and crew who walked away from an Asiana Boeing 777 crash at
San Francisco International Airport in July.
At the Airline Excellence Awards, Air New Zealand
was named Airline of the Year for 2014 in honour of its in-flight innovations,
financial performance, operational safety and motivation of its staff that have
stamped the airline an industry trendsetter.
Thomas said Emirates’ win of three major awards was
no surprise, noting it had been at the forefront on the airline industry for
the past ten years.
He said its First Class product set a new industry
benchmark, as did its in-flight entertainment.
“The AirlineRating.com editors praised the
airline’s overall long-haul product and the fact that the airline has
established and then perfected the Middle East hub to the world model,” he