Airline Safety Ratings Essay

The modern society exhibits high travel levels with the need for flying significantly increasing over the past decades. Travellers are keen to consider a wide range of factors before they can embark on a trip. Airline safety raring is one of the vital factors that travellers are keen on. Indeed, air transport is considered to be more secure than any other form of transportation. However, the safety-conscious of the travellers coupled with the safety ratings of the airlines play a critical role in the choice of an airline by a traveller. The safety ratings are available to the public and it informs their decisions on airline choice. Airline safety ratings are reached at through robust mechanisms that evaluate a wide range of factors and adherence by the companies. Aviation safety brings together diverse institutions and organisations that work together and independently to continuously improve safety in air transportation.

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Approximately over 100,000 flights are safely realised on daily basis in various jurisdictions due to the existence of various safety requirements, mechanisms and institutions (“Safety”, 2019). Airline safety rating is a multifaceted process that follows a methodology that is acceptable by various institutions and exhibits high reliability levels.

Airline Safety Rating Criteria
The Airline safety rating for individual airlines is reached at through a comprehensive utilisation of information from various world aviation governing bodies as well as data from airline accidents. No institution is charged with rating airlines in terms of safety. However, there are two main ways of rating the airlines in terms of safety as implemented by different leading rating institutions. The criterion can be either progressive or regressive in nature. The criteria are premised on a seven star rating criteria.

The progressive airline safety criterion is based on the level of compliance in ensuring the safety of passengers, personnel as well as cargo. The seven star rating methodologies is a popular system that enlightens on the progressive rating method. The seven star airline safety rating is a popular progressive airline safety rating method employed by variation aviation organisations. AirlineRatings is a leader in airline safety rankings and analyses data across the world involving over 405 airlines in order to come up with the safety rankings of the airlines based on the seven star ratings method. The criterion checks the airline against defined thresholds and awards the stars inherent with the compliance requirements. The tick-box instrument is significantly utilised in counterchecking the compliance with the seven key requirements that give rise to the seven stars when it comes to airline safety. The certification is done by the IATA Operational Safety Audit (IOSA). IOSA is internationally recognised and accepted as the body that offers evaluation on the operational, management and control aspects of airlines. The audit principles at IOSA are consistent and standardised with the audits being conducted on the airlines each two years. Airlines have the discretion to participate or abstain from the audit upon which they become certified or not. IOSA certification attracts three stars out of the seven available for this rating methodology with the exception of airlines under investigation for fatal crashes. A star is awarded for safety if an airline is allowed within the European Union airspace. The European Union blacklists airlines for issues of gross risks and maintenance failures amongst other reasons. A star is given to an airline that has ensured a decade free from fatalities. An endorsement by the Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) attracts another star for airlines. Certain countries are banned from flying into the United States due to the inability to comply with the internationally required aviation safety requirements that revolve around maintenance and operations. Regardless of the airline from that country being flawless, a star is denied for being blacklisted by the FAA. If the country of origin of the airline is deemed to have met the safety standards of the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO), the airline is awarded a star for safety. ICAO sets out eight parameters of safety namely; licensing, organisation, operations, legislation, accident investigation, airworthiness, aerodromes and air navigation service. A star is awarded for safety an airline that is not grounded by the aviation governing body in its country of origin. The last standard for awarding a star is that an airline ought to operate only aircraft built in the former Soviet Union or designed up to 1990. Accomplishing conclusively the foregoing requirements validates an airline to be awarded full stars.

The regressive airline safety raring system appreciates the complexities in aviation and takes an approach that entails deduction of points as a result of the actions or omissions of the airlines. The Jet Airliner Crash Data Evaluation Centre (JACDEC) popularly employs this form of methodology in rating airlines in terms of safety. JACDEC establishes airline safety by analysing information on the accident/incident history, the environmental factors as well as the operational risks. Ideally, each airline has their rating starting at 100% and the same is subject to reduction due to incidences, accidents, fatalities, injuries, audit findings and benchmarks. A penalty is calculated and the percentage is reduced effectively. Airlines that have taken measures to improve their safety have the values calculated and added to their ratings. In order for an airline to hit 100% in terms of safety, it must; have been free from incidences/accidents for 30 years, serve long haul flights, have a young fleet of aircrafts between 3-9 years, complied with the safety requirements of the relevant aviation bodies both at the local and international levels and operate in countries that have their air safety compliance at par with those of the international standards (“The JACDEC”, 2019).

SkyTeam Alliance
SkyTeam is one of the leading airline alliances. The members of the team have enjoyed high safety rating levels in both the progressive and regressive methods. Etihad Airways a member of the the SkyTeam Alliance is ranked amongst the safest airlines by JACDEC that employs the regressive methodology. Etihad Airways has a 92.70% safety rating out of the possible maximum of 100%. The Airline has significantly met the thresholds by JACDEC such as maintaining younger fleets at the rate of 93%, having fully complied with the aviation requirements in the United Arab Emirates as well as those of the United Arab Emirates Aviation Authority. Further, Etihad Airways has only been subject to minor incidences in the past 30 years standing at a 3.89% of the operations. Additionally, the airline has complied with the standards set by ICOA, IATA, FAA and the EU amongst other governing bodies.

The seven star rating methodology for airline safety ranks KLM amongst the top twenty safest airlines. Under the methodology, the airlines that perfectly score the seven stars are rated amongst the top 20. KLM a member of the SkyTeam is a perfect example of the use of the seven star rating methodologies in ascertaining safety.

KLM has 3 stars rating from its participation and accreditation by IOSA for having met the stipulated safety requirements. The fact that KLM is allowed into the EU airspaces accords it the fourth star. The Netherlands is endorsed by the FAA enabling KLM to have its fifth rating on airline safety. Further, KLM is ICAO compliant and this accounts for its 6th star. Finally, the seventh star score is based on the current nature of the fleet of KLM. They are the latest models that are considered to be contemporary relevant to various safety issues in aviation.

Conclusively, airline safety ratings are crucial for all the parties in the aviation sector. The methodologies may vary in terms of assessing the rating of an airline’s safety but the fact that the compliance requirements considered are relevantly similar leads to consistency in findings. Airline safety ratings play a crucial role in ensuring the reduction of risks in the aviation industry for all parties.

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Works Cited
“Safety”. Iata.Org, 2019,
“The JACDEC Safety Index – All You Must Know » JACDEC”. Jacdec.De, 2019,
Federal Aviation Administration. “Federal Aviation Administration.” Federal Aviation Administration, 2019. Retrieved from
International Civil Aviation Organization. “ICAO Safety.” ICAO. Retrieved from
KLM. “KLM Royal Dutch Airlines.” KLM, 2019. Retrieved from