20 Safest Airlines in the World for 2021

Peter Watson

Qantas has been named the world's safest airline for the third year running by AirlineRatings, the world's foremost airline safety review website.


(Photo: aapsky/Shutterstock)

To make its evaluation of the safest airlines in the world, Airline Ratings draws on an extensive range of factors including the airline’s crash and serious incident record, audits from aviation’s governing and industry bodies, government audits, industry-leading safety initiatives, and the age of its fleet.

Launched in 2013, Airline Ratings assesses the safety and in-flight service of 405 airlines using an exclusive seven-star rating system. The website is used by millions of passengers from 232 countries and territories and has established itself as the industry standard for airline safety and product rating, acquiring over 50 awards and publishing 28 industry books in the process.

“All airlines have incidents every day, and many are aircraft or engine manufacture issues, not airline operational problems. It is the way the flight crew handles these incidents that determines a good airline from an unsafe one. Our top 20 safest airlines 2021 are always at the forefront of safety innovation, operational excellence, and the launching of new more advanced aircraft like the Airbus A350 and Boeing 787." – Geoffrey Thomas, Airline Ratings

In selecting Qantas as the world’s safest airline for 2021, Airline Ratings' editors noted that over its 100-year history – the world’s oldest continuously operating airline – Qantas has consistently demonstrated an outstanding record of firsts in operations and safety and is now accepted as the industry’s most experienced airline.


(Photo: WhoisBCX/Shutterstock)

The Australian airline has been a standout leader in the development of various industry-wide navigation, safety and monitoring systems. As such, Qantas has always been either the first or second airline to launch the 16 major safety enhancements introduced in the past 60 years.

"These airlines are standouts in the industry and are at the forefront of safety, innovation and the design and launching of new aircraft. For instance, Australia's Qantas has been recognized by the British Advertising Standards Association in a test case in 2008 as the world's most experienced airline. It is extraordinary that Qantas has been the lead airline in virtually every major operational safety advancement over the past 60 years and has not had a fatality in the jet era. But Qantas is not alone. Long established airlines such as Hawaiian and Finnair have perfect records in the jet era." – Geoffrey Thomas, Airline Ratings

Responding to public interest, Airline Ratings editors also identified their top ten safest low-cost airlines, although they did not rank numerically. Instead, they have shared them in alphabetical order as follows: Flybe, Frontier, HK Express, Jetblue, Jetstar Australia/Asia, Thomas Cook, Volaris, Vueling, Westjet and Wizz.

World's Safest Airlines for 2021

Airline Ratings has selected its 20 safest airlines from a list of 405 airlines it monitors.

1. Qantas

2. Qatar Airways

3. Air New Zealand

4. Singapore Airlines

5. Emirates

6. EVA Air

7. Etihad Airways

8. Alaska Airlines

9. Cathay Pacific Airways

10. British Airways

11. Virgin Australia/Virgin Atlantic

12. Hawaiian Airlines

13. Southwest Airlines

14. Delta Air Lines

15. American Airlines

16. SAS

17. Finnair

18. Lufthansa

19. KLM

20. United Airlines

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Peter Watson is a writer, photographer and adventurer. A keen trekker and climber he can usually be found on the trails of the Greater Ranges. He’s visited over 80 countries and is currently focused on climbing the seven summits – the highest mountain on every continent. Four down, three to go... He has also travelled extensively around the US developing a penchant for American backcountry, abandoned buildings and natural wonders en route.

Phoenix, AZ

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