The top 10 safest low-cost airlines

by Christine Forbes Smith
January 04, 2018

The high public interest in affordable travel has prompted the world’s only safety and product rating website, to identify the top ten safest low-cost airlines for 2018  from more than 400 airlines it monitors.

Low-cost carriers (LCCs) have allowed millions of people to travel for the first time or to take trips they would otherwise be unable to afford.

They are a rapidly-growing segment of the industry but with rapid growth can come problems.

The AirlineRatings top 10 safest LCCs for 2018 are, in alphabetical order, Aer Lingus, Flybe, Frontier, HK Express, JetBlue, Jetstar Australia / Jetstar Asia, Thomas Cook, Virgin America, Vueling, and Westjet.

This category is in addition to AirlineRatings’ top 20 safest airlines for 2018.

These LCCs have all passed the stringent International Air Transport Association Operational Safety Audit (IOSA) and have excellent safety records.

IOSA is an internationally recognized and accepted evaluation system designed to assess the operational management and control systems of an airline. It looks at more than 1000 audit parameters and airlines are re-evaluated every two years.

Additionally, International Air Transport Association statistics show the global accident rate for airlines using  IOSA outperforms the overall rate. In 2016, the accident rate for IOSA members was nearly twice as good as for non-IOSA airlines (1.25 accidents per million flights vs. 2.36) and it was more than three times better over the previous five years.

International Air Transport Association members are required to pass IOSA but many LCCs are not part of IATA and choose not to undertake the audit.

“Those LCC’s that have decided to use IOSA show an additional commitment to safety,’’ said AirlineRatings editor-in-chief Geoffrey Thomas.

Other factors used to decide the top 10 LCCs include the results of audits conducted by the governing body of aviation, The International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO), whether they are on banned lists and a fatality free record for the past 10 years.

Read: What makes a safe airline.

AirlineRatings offers a unique safety tool that allows passengers to compare the safety ratings of more than 400 airlines.

See the safety tool.


  1. Dear Sirs,Why ain't Norwegian Air Shuttle mentioned in your rating? regards Lasarus
  2. Norwegian are a great airline but to be considered in the top 10 the airline must score 7/7 in the safety rating. Norwegian fall short as they are not IOSA certified.