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World’s Safest Airlines for 2023 Revealed

Qantas has been named the safest airline in the world, while U.S. carriers Alaska, Hawaiian, United, American, and Delta all made the top 20

by Fergus Cole

January 4, 2023

Photo: Courtesy of Soho Zaidi / Unsplash

A new industry analysis has named Qantas Airways the world’s safest airline. According to safety and product review site, the Australian flag carrier topped the list for 2023.

The report analyzed data from almost 400 airlines and travel companies worldwide. Qantas came out on top, narrowly beating last year’s winners Air New Zealand, who came in a close second.

Air New Zealand NZ001 / Courtesy of Air New Zealand

As noted by the report, the results are based on several factors, such as the number of crashes an airline has had over the last five years and severe incidents over the previous two years. Also, the report includes audits from governing bodies and regulators, the average age of the airline’s fleet, pilot training assessments, safety initiatives, and anti-COVID measures.

This year, the report praised Australia’s national carrier for its “amazing record of firsts in operations and safety,” which, according to the site, means it is “accepted as the industry’s most experienced airline.”

Qantas has long been at the forefront of the development of air safety technology, including the Future Air Navigation System, automatic landings, and precision approaches around mountains in all weather conditions. It has also recently updated its fleet, ordering 12 Airbus A350-1000s, 20 Airbus A321 XLRs, and 20 Airbus A220s, which will be delivered over the next ten years.

Etihad Airways, Qatar Airways, and Singapore Airlines made up the rest of the top 5 safest airlines for 2023. In addition, five North American carriers—Alaska Airlines, Hawaiian Airlines, United Airlines, American Airlines, and Delta Air Lines—did make the top 20.

Average Fleet Age 2022 Ranking
1. Qantas 14 years 7
2. Air New Zealand 8.7 years 1
3. Etihad Airways 7.1 years 2
4. Qatar Airways 8.2 years 3
5. Singapore Airlines 7.1 years 4
6. TAP Air Portugal 9 years 5
7. Emirates 9.2 years 20
8. Alaska Airlines 9 years 8
9. EVA Air 8 years 9
10. Virgin Australia/Atlantic 23.4/6.8 years 10
11. Cathay Pacific Airways 10.5 years 11
12. Hawaiian Airlines 11.5 years 12
13. Scandinavian Airlines 8.9 years 6
14. United Airlines 16.8 years 19
15. Lufthansa/Swiss Group 13 years 14
16. Finnair 12.4 years 15
17. British Airways 13.6 years 17
18. KLM Royal Dutch Airlines 13.1 years 16
19. American Airlines 12.4 years 13
20. Delta Air Lines 14.7 years 18

Geoffrey Thomas, Editor-in-Chief at, said that while the sheer number of incidents may be off-putting for travelers, the vast majority of air incidents are minor and that they shouldn’t necessarily cast doubt on an airline’s safety record based on these rankings alone.

“All airlines have incidents every day, and many are aircraft manufacture issues, not airline operational problems,” said Thomas. “It is the way the flight crew handles incidents that determines a good airline from an unsafe one. So just lumping all incidents together is very misleading. And some country’s incident reporting systems are weak, further complicating matters.”

The airline safety website also revealed the 20 safest low-cost carriers in the world, following public requests. North American carriers included in this list are Frontier, JetBlue, Southwest, and WestJet.