Aviation has been deemed the most safest mode of transport over the past 40 years thanks to engineering advances. You could, however, be forgiven for questioning statistical evidence as the actual number of passengers and flights has increased at an exponential pace.
In recent years, news headlines have featured multiple aircraft hull loss stories. British Airways is considered to be a safe airline, but people with a short memory may not recall images of flight BA38 from Beijing which crashed at Heathrow in 2008. Or the stark images of a British Airways 747 that caught fire at Las Vegas 2015. Emirates is another airline that has quietly moved past the negative press they received following the crash of a Boeing 777 at Dubai in 2016.
These incidents did not result in any fatalities, but there have been many fatal accidents in the past decade. These include images of two recent Boeing 737 MAX disasters, and of an Aeroflot plane bouncing down the Moscow runway, engulfed by flames. Then there were the two Malaysia Airlines crashes. One of these aircraft was captured in the air over Ukraine.
Major airlines are still relatively safe despite these incidents. There are some airlines with a poor safety record, which can range from very good to extremely bad. If you are flying on one of the listed airlines, you should ignore the rest and assume that you are either traveling to an extremely remote area where there is no other option or you simply want to book the lowest fare. Many of the most dangerous airlines in the world are prohibited from flying into the USA and EU. If the aviation authorities tell you otherwise, it is likely with justifiable reasoning.
AirlineRatings.com has published their list, based on seven-star ratings. How the airlines are rated is determined by factors such as deaths in the past decade, country blacklists, and International Air Transport Association Operational Safety Audit certificates. None of these airlines have achieved more than two stars.
Tara Air was able to earn just one star out of seven. This Nepalese-based carrier, which has eight aircraft flying in and out of dangerous mountainous areas in Nepal, was not able to improve its rating due to multiple fatal accidents in 2010/2011.
In the past eight years, Nepal has been victim to nine fatalities. The risk of flying in the mountainous country can be considered high. Royal Nepal Airlines, which has flown since 1958 under the name Nepal Airlines, was established in 2008. The monarchy was dismantled in 2008 and its safety record is poor. Nepal Airlines, which has accumulated just one star, is prohibited from flying to the EU. Although safety records have improved significantly over the past 20 years, 18 people were killed in a tragic accident in 2014.
Ariana Afghan Airlines
Ariana is Afghanistan’s national carrier. They currently have five aircraft and a staggering history of 19 aircraft being lost or destroyed during their history. Seven of these incidents were fatal.
Bluewing is based in Suriname, a small South American country. After three years of losses to three Antonov An-28 aircraft, the airline was banned from European airspace. This includes French Guiana and neighboring French territories.
Kam Air is the only one-star airline to be found at the bottom of this safety checklist. The airline, which is based in Afghanistan, was banned from U.S. Airspace. Kam tried to fly to Europe in 2010, but was denied permission due to incidents that included a bomb threat and a fatal accident.
Trigana Air Service
It is not surprising that Trigana Indonesian Airlines was given a one star rating despite having suffered 10 hull losses and 14 incidents involving Trigana-operated aircraft. Trigana, like its counterparts on this list is also banned from the EU and U.S. Airspace.
Although the safety record of this Kazakhstan-based airline is not impressive, it has not had a fatal accident since 2013. SCAT does not have an internationally recognized safety audit certificate. However, it is working hard to become internationally recognised and safe.