British Airways has been named one of the world’s safest airlines in the latest report from the Air Transport Rating Agency (ATRA).
Other European airlines featured in the study include Air France–KLM and Lufthansa.
The top six of the world’s safest airlines according to the Geneva-based ATRA are Continental Airlines, Delta, Southwest Airlines, United Airlines, American Airlines and US Airways, which are all based in the USA. Japan Airlines was also featured in the top ten.
The “holistic safety rating” by ATRA, which operates independently of any airline, manufacturer or regulatory authority, are a strict set of regulations that commercial airlines have to follow in order to meet their required safety standards.
The most common single criteria which most safety rankings are based on are accident statistics over the past ten years. However, due to the infrequency of accidents among commercial airlines, ATRA argues that this approach is not a wholly valid and rounded interpretation of overall airline safety.
Fifteen different factors have to be considered, including the age of the airline’s fleet and pilot-training facilities. The aim of the report is to encourage airlines to track, monitor and improve on their overall airline safety.
Every year the European Union publishes a “black list” of banned airlines, considered to be the world’s most dangerous. The latest release, from April 2011, found that 37 Kazakh carriers and 43 Indonesian airlines are deemed to be dangerous.