Safety Rating Criteria

The safety rating for each airline is based on a comprehensive analysis utilizing information from the world’s aviation governing body and leading association along with governments and crash data. Each airline has the potential to earn seven stars. For more information see the disclaimer.

The 7-star safety assessment criteria for all airlines is as follows

Is the airline IOSA certified?

If yes three stars are awarded; if not, no star is given. However, if the airline is involved in a fatal crash the three stars may be withdrawn pending the final outcome of the investigation.

What is IOSA Certification?

The IATA* Operational Safety Audit (IOSA) certification audit is an internationally recognized and accepted evaluation system designed to assess the operational management and control systems of an airline. IOSA uses internationally recognized audit principles and is designed to conduct audits in a standardized 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 is 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, highjackings OR pilot suicide they have not been included. If an airline suffered a fatal accident through no fault of its 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.

One star is deleted from the rating if the airline has had any fatalities to passengers or crew in the prior 10 years. It is our view – and that of our safety consultants – that it takes up to 10 years for an airline’s safety culture to change after an accident. It can also take up to 10 years for the airline to replace older aircraft types, upgrade avionics or systems that may have contributed to the accident.

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 ICAO safety parameters?

If the country meets between 6 and 8 one star is awarded to the airline. Five secures 1/2 star. However, if any of the criteria are below the average by less than 5 percent it is considered a pass. 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:

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 the grounding.

Does the airline operate only aircraft built in the former Soviet Union and designed up to 1990?

If yes an additional star will be taken off the total.