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. However, if the one criteria that is below the average is so by less than 15 per cent it is considered a pass. 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, Organization, 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.
Regional Carrier Rating Criteria
Regional airlines (regionals) act as feeder airlines to major airlines connecting regional centres to main hubs (airports). Regionals also link smaller centres to each other. These airlines typically operate turbo-prop or single aisle regional jets on short routes (typically less than three hours).
Due to the short flight times passengers on regionals are generally not served a meal or alcoholic beverages or given a blanket and pillow. In fight entertainment is also rare. Whilst similar to low cost airlines, regional airlines differ in that fares generally include baggage that can be transferred between flights. Many regional airlines are a subsidiary of a full service airline and allow premium passengers access to the full service carrier lounges.
- All regional carriers were given a 4 out of 5 star rating to start with. This was based on the fact that most regionals provide snacks and/or non alcoholic beverages, the seats often don't recline, blankets and pillows aren't available and there is no in flight entertainment.
- If a regional provides more than this (i.e a full meal, entertainment or blankets for example) they received an extra star to a maximum of 5 stars.
- Regionals lose a star from the base 4 star rating if passengers pay for snacks or drinks or if no snacks or drinks were available despite a significant flight time.
- A star is also taken off airlines that operate short flight times such as island hopper services but didn't provide a basic snack or drink service in a departure lounge.
- Airlines can also lose a star if the website was lacking passenger information or was of a poor standard.