Airline & Safety Ratings
Safety Rating Criteria
The 7 star safety assessment criteria for all airlines is as follows
Is the airline IOSA certified? If yes two stars are awarded; if not, no star is given.
What is IOSA Certification? The IATA* Operational Safety Audit (IOSA) certification audit is an internationally recognised and accepted evaluation system designed to assess the operational management and control systems of an airline. IOSA uses internationally recognised audit principles and is designed to conduct audits in a standardised and consistent manner. Airlines are re evaluated every two years. Registering for IOSA certification and auditing is not mandatory therefore an airline that does not have IOSA certification may have either failed the IOSA audit or alternatively chosen not to participate. *IATA (International Air Transport Association)
Is the airline on the European Union (EU) Blacklist? If no a full star is awarded; if yes then no star is given.
What is the EU Blacklist? A list of airlines banned from flying into European airspace due to safety concerns arising from alleged poor aircraft maintenance and/or regulatory oversight. Airlines banned by the EU may have a flawless safety record however the potential risk towards passenger safety is deemed by the EU as too high and a ban is put in place
Has the airline maintained a fatality free record for the past 10 years? If yes the airline are awarded a full star; if not then no star is given.
A fatality is deemed as the death of crew and/or passengers whilst on board the aircraft due to an accident. If deaths occurred through acts of terrorism or highjackings they have not been included. If an airline suffered a fatal accident through no fault of their own such as a runway incursion on the active runway (an incident where an unauthorized aircraft, vehicle or person is on a runway) this has also not been included.
Is the airline FAA endorsed? If yes a full star is awarded; if not, no star is given.
What is FAA endorsement? In the United States, the Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) has a list that bans countries (not airlines) from flying into American Airspace. The ban arises from a deemed inability to adhere to international aviation standards for aircraft operations and maintenance. According to the FAA Web site, “those that do not meet these international standards cannot initiate new service and are restricted to current levels of any existing service to the United States while corrective actions are underway." An airline or airlines from a prohibited country may have a flawless safety record however the potential risk to safety is deemed too high by the FAA to allow operations in American airspace.
Does the country of airline origin meet all 8 ICAO safety parameters? If yes TWO stars are awarded to the airline. If 5 to 7 of the criteria are met one star is awarded. If the country only meets up to four criteria no star is given
What is ICAO and what are the 8 parameters? The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) was created to promote the safe and orderly development of international civil aviation throughout the world. It sets standards and regulations necessary for aviation safety, security, efficiency and regularity, as well as for aviation environmental protection. The 8 ICAO audit parameters that pertain to safety are; Legislation, Organzation, Licensing, Operations, Airworthiness, Accident Investigation, Air Navigation Service and Aerodromes. For more information on a particular country visit http://www.icao.int/safety/Pages/USOAP-Results.aspx.
Has the airline's fleet been grounded by the country's governing aviation safety authority due to safety concerns? If yes an additional star will be taken off the total for five years from the time of grounding
Does the airline operate only Russian built aircraft? If yes an additional star will be taken off the total.
Low Cost Carrier Rating Criteria
These carriers typically do not have passenger lounges, business or first class cabins, or are part of alliances. These carriers offer a lower level of service than full service carriers and
generally work on a point to point route network. The level of passenger comforts such as meals, blankets, pillows and IFE is low, variable or non-existent and if available usually needs to be purchased. Low cost
carriers typically operate one or two aircraft types and rarely transfer baggage from one flight to another.
The 5 star assessment criteria for low cost airlines is as follows:
Personal In Flight Entertainment
1 star for personal seat back screens (or personal devices) either paid for or complimentary. No star for no in flight entertainment.
1/2 star for shared cabin screens on most flights of two hours duration or more or mixed fleet (some aircraft with personal in flight entertainment and some without).
NOTE: Wi-Fi capability is considered a form of in flight entertainment and follows a similar rating therefore if the airlines is Wi-Fi-equipped across the whole fleet = 1 star; if only half the fleet is equipped = 1/2 star.
Cabin space and comfort
1 star for seat pitch of 30 inch and above. No star for seat pitch less than 30 inch.
1/2 star for mixed across fleet (some aircraft above 30 inch, some below 30 inch).
1 star if non-alcoholic beverages provided complimentary. No star if not available on fights less than 90 minutes.
1/2 star if only available for purchase.
1 star for fresh foods such as sandwiches and hot meals on flights over 2 hours available for purchase. No star if no food available on flights under 90 minutes.
1/2 star if snack foods only (chips, chocolates, nuts, biscuits) on flights over 2 hours.
1 star if significant recline (2 inches or more). No star if no recline.
1/2 star if mixed across fleet (some aircraft have reclining seats, some do not).
NOTE: Editors discretion will be used in situations where the information is not available from the airline.
No rating is made on the inclusion of baggage as different tickets allow for baggage and it varies too significantly between airlines to make a reasonable comparison and judgement.