Air India Ranked World's Third Worst Airline
By A Correspondent
Air India has been rated world's third least safe airline after China Airlines and TAM Airlines, according to a report from a website that monitors plane crashes around the world.
India's national carrier is ranked 58th among 60 listed airlines by a European group of airline safety enthusiasts Hamburg based Jet Airliner Crash Data Evaluation Centre (JACDEC).
Finnair is now the world's safest airline, followed by Air New Zealand, Cathay Pacific and Emirates, according to JACDEC Safety Ranking 2012.
Cathay Pacific ranked third, followed by Emirates and then Etihad Airways which was only established in 2003.
Qantas ranked 13th despite a similarly clean aircraft loss record since 1983. However, JACDEC director Jan Richter said Qantas had experienced multiple incidents where a serious accident had nearly occurred in recent years.
"While in the recent years Qantas experienced multiple of these type of incidents, Air New Zealand and Finnair remained mostly free of them," Richter said.
Not one North American carrier made the top 10 list, but none of them made the bottom 10 either.
China Airlines comes in at 60th place in the rankings with eight aircraft losses and 755 deaths since 1983, including the death of 264 passengers and crew during a crash on landing at Japan's Nagoya Airport in 1994.
None of the top nine ranked airlines had lost an aircraft or had a fatality during the 30-year period, but many had also not been active for the full 30 years.
The centre calculates its annual rankings based on aircraft loss accidents and serious incidents over the past 30 years. The resulting index relates that information to the revenue per passenger kilometer (rpk) earned by the airline over the same period.
There were 496 fatalities on commercial passenger flights last year, according to the report, two fewer than in 2011.
The most significant involved a Dana Air flight which crashed in Nigeria, killing 169 people, and a Bhoja Air flight which crashed in Pakistan, killing 127.
A total of 30 planes were destroyed and there were 44 "hull losses", or aircraft write-offs, one less than the previous year.
JACDEC had not published its data on the so-called serious incidents, which Richter said had less of a weighting on the Safety Index than aircraft loss accidents and fatalities.
Air New Zealand's chief flight operations and safety officer, David Morgan, said the recognition was testament to the airline's dedication to maintaining a strong safety culture.
"Safety is paramount and non-negotiable at Air New Zealand," Morgan said.
"We have worked hard as an airline to create a safety culture which has been embraced by more than 10,000 employees and it's very pleasing to have been recognised by an external agency."
The index data does not go as far back as New Zealand's worst airline disaster in 1979 when Air New Zealand flight TE901 crashed into Antarctica's Mount Erebus killing 257 passengers and crew.
It also leaves out the loss of three pilots, three engineers and an aviation inspector when an Air New Zealand Airbus A320 plunged into the Mediterranean Sea in November 2008 on a test flight before rejoining the airline's commercial fleet.