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The top 20 safest airlines in the world, according to experts

Air New Zealand.

Philip Pilosian/

  • has named Air New Zealand as the safest airline in the world for 2022.
  • The organization publishes the top 20 list every year, and ANZ beat out 2021’s top carrier, Australia-based Qantas.
  • Five US carriers made the list in 2022, though Southwest Airlines dropped off after ranking 13 last year., a source for airline safety and product reviews, has revealed its top 20 safest carriers in the world for 2022, with five US airlines making the list.

Established in 2013, is a trusted website that rates airline safety, inflight products, and COVID-19 compliance of 385 worldwide carriers on a unique seven-star scale. Every year, releases a list of the top safest airlines in the world, and, this year, Air New Zealand snatched the title from Australia-based Qantas. editor-in-chief Geoffrey Thomas explained in a press release that “there is very little between the top 20, they are all standouts.”

“Our top 20 safest airlines 2022 are always at the forefront of safety innovation, operational excellence, and the launching of new more advanced aircraft like the Airbus A350 and Boeing 787.”

Air New Zealand is the safest airline in the world for 2022, according to, with carriers like Etihad Airways, TAP Air Portugal, Qatar, Qantas, Lufthansa, and Finnair also making the list. Five US carriers also earned top spots, including Alaska Airlines, Delta Air Lines, Hawaiian Airlines, American Airlines, and United Airlines.

According to Thomas, ANZ earned the title because of its superb incident record, number of technological innovations and cockpit advancements, comprehensive pilot training, and low fleet age, which averages just 6.8 years.

AirlineRatings also said ANZ’s pilots operate in harsh weather conditions and remote environments, adding to the carrier’s safety ranking. Moreover, the airline excelled in COVID policies and practices.

“Air New Zealand has won countless awards and has a firm focus on safety and its customers and over the past 18 months, COVID-19 has brought yet another new dimension to the challenges,” Thomas said.

According to the organization, the 2022 awards were based on six factors, including crashes in the past five years, serious incidents over two years, audits from aviation governing bodies, government audits, fleet age, and COVID policies.

However, Thomas clarified that all airlines experience incidents and that it is not always the fault of the carrier when things go wrong, but sometimes rather the aircraft or engine manufacturer. 

“It is the way the flight crew handles these incidents that determines a good airline from an unsafe one,” he said.

There were several ranking shifts in 2022 compared to 2021, most notably were Qantas losing its crown to Air New Zealand after a three-year winning streak, Southwest Airlines falling out of the top 20 after ranking number 13 last year, and TAP Air Portugal being named Europe’s safest carrier after not making the list in 2021.

Here’s a closer look at AirlineRatings’ top 20 safest airlines in the world.

20. Emirates

Emirates Airbus A380Emirates Airbus A380


Emirates barely made the top 20 this year after ranking number five in 2021. The fast-growing airline, which is one of the flag carriers of the UAE, is based in Dubai and operates the world’s largest fleet of Airbus A380 aircraft. Emirates flies routes within the Middle East, as well as to destinations in Africa, Asia, the South Pacific, North America, Europe, and South America.

19. United Airlines

United Airlines Boeing 787-10 DreamlinerA United Airlines Boeing 787-10 Dreamliner.

Markus Mainka /

US-based United Airlines jumped one spot in 2022’s safest airline list after barely making the top 20 in 2021. The airline is one of the world’s largest carriers after merging with Continental Airlines in 2010 and operates a strong domestic and international network to over 120 destinations worldwide.

18. Delta Air Lines

Delta planeThe flight was operated by Delta Airlines in partnership with KLM Royal Dutch Airlines.

Getty Images

US-based Delta Air Lines dropped four spots in this year’s ranking. The airline is a large international carrier, having merged with Northwest Airlines in 2008. Delta operates to destinations across the Middle East, Central and South America, Asia, Africa, Australia, and Europe out of its several US hubs.

17. British Airways

British Airways Airbus A380A British Airways Airbus A380.

Philip Pilosian /

British Airways fell seven spots from number 10 in 2021. BA is headquartered in England and is the flag carrier of the United Kingdom. The carrier flies to dozens of cities across Europe, Africa, Asia, Australia, and the Americas, operating out of three London-area airports, including Heathrow, Gatwick, and London City.

16. Air France/KLM Group

Air France/KLM.Air France/KLM.

Markus Mainka/Shutterstock

Air France-KLM is a European airline holding company that was formed after the two airlines merged in 2004, though both operate under their own individual brands, according to CAPA. Air France, which did not make the list in 2021, is the national airline of France and is based at Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport. Meanwhile, KLM, which jumped three spots from last year, operates as the Dutch national carrier and has its hub at Amsterdam Airport Schiphol.

15. Finnair


Markus Mainka/Shutterstock

Helsinki-based Finnair jumped two spots from number 17 in 2021. The airline is the national carrier of Finland and operates a vast domestic and international network, flying regional routes in Finland and Scandinavia as well as long-haul routes to Asia, Europe, the US, and Canada.

14. Lufthansa Group

Lufthansa aircraft.Lufthansa aircraft.

Dirk Daniel Mann/Shutterstock

Lufthansa, which ranked 18 in 2021, is based in Frankfurt and operates a large international network across Europe, the Asia Pacific, the Middle East, North America, Latin America, and Africa. The carrier is part of the larger Lufthansa Group that also consists of Swiss International Air Lines, Edelweiss Air, Austrian Airlines, Brussels Airlines, Eurowings, and Eurowings Discover, according to the company.

13. American Airlines

American Airlines at JFKAmerican Airlines at JFK

Wangkun Jia/Shutterstock

American Airlines jumped two spots from number 15 in 2021. The Dallas/Fort Worth-based carrier has a robust domestic and international network carrying passengers to destinations in Europe, the Asia Pacific, Central America, and South America.

12. Hawaiian Airlines

Hawaiian Airlines Airbus A330Hawaiian Airlines Airbus A330


Hawaiian Airlines maintained its number 12 spot in 2022. The carrier is a US-based airline operating flights out of its hubs at Honolulu International Airport on O’ahu and Kahului Airport on Maui. The carrier flies around the Hawaiian islands, offers routes to the continental US, and operates international service to Asia, the Pacific, and Australia.

11. Cathay Pacific Airways

Cathay Pacific.Cathay Pacific.


Cathay Pacific Airways dropped two spots from number nine in 2021 to rank 11 this year. The carrier is based in Hong Kong and operates regional and international flights to the Asia-Pacific, Africa, Europe, the Middle East, and North America.

10.  Virgin Australia/Atlantic



Virgin Australia and Virgin Atlantic, which ranked number 11 in 2021, operate under the Virgin brand but do not compete on overlapping networks, according to the airlines. Virgin Australia is based in Brisbane and is Australia’s second-largest carrier, operating routes across Australia, the Asia Pacific, Europe, the Middle East, North America, and South Africa. Virgin Atlantic is UK-based and operates flights to North America, the Caribbean, Africa, and Asia.

9.  EVA Air


Huy Thoai/Shutterstock

EVA Air dropped three spots from number six last year. The Taiwanese carrier is based in Taipei and is the second-largest airline in the country behind China Airlines. EVA flies regional and international routes to destinations in Asia, Australia, Europe, Canada, and the United States.

8.  Alaska Airlines

An Alaska Airlines airplane taking off against a blue sky with white clouds.An Alaska Airlines plane taking off at JFK.

Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

Alaska Airlines is the highest-ranking US-based carrier on the top 20 list, maintaining its number eight spot from 2021. The Seattle-based carrier is partnered with American Airlines and is a new Oneworld member. Alaska operates domestic flights across the US as well as international routes to Canada, Central America, and Mexico.

7.  Qantas

Qantas 787-9 before departure at Buenos AiresQantas 787-9 before departure at Buenos Aires

Qantas Airways

After being crowned the world’s safest airline in 2021, Qantas lost the title to Air New Zealand this year. The national carrier is based in Australia and operates routes to New Zealand, the Americas, Asia, South Africa, and Europe.

6.  Scandinavian Airlines

Scandinavian AirlinesScandinavian Airlines


Scandinavian Airlines, better known as SAS, jumped an impressive 10 spots in 2022 from number 16 last year. The Stockholm-based carrier is the national airline of three Scandinavian nations, including Denmark, Norway, and Sweden. SAS operates routes around Europe and Scandinavia, as well as to Asia and North America.

5.  TAP Air Portugal

TAP Air Portugal Airbus A321LRTAP Air Portugal Airbus A321LR


TAP Air Portugal, also known as TAP, made its way into the top 20 list this year after not ranking in 2021. The national carrier of Portugal, which is Europe’s safest airline for 2022, operates routes across Europe, North America, South America, and Africa.

4.  Singapore Airlines

Singapore Airlines Boeing 777-300ERA Singapore Airlines Boeing 777-300ER.

Thiago B Trevisan/

Singapore Airlines maintained its number four spot in 2022. The national carrier is known for its strong long-haul product and serves destinations in Asia, North America, Australasia, Europe, Africa, and the Middle East.

3.  Qatar Airways

The front of a Qatar Airways plane.A Qatar Airways jet arriving from Doha, Qatar, at the airport in Frankfurt, Germany, in January 2015.

AP Photo/Michael Probst, File

Qatar Airways dropped one spot this year after being named the number two safest airline for 2021. The Doha-based airline is the national carrier of Qatar and is one of the world’s fastest-growing airlines, according to the company. Qatar maintains an extensive network of routes across the Middle East, Africa, the Asia Pacific, Europe, Latin America, and North America.

2.  Etihad Airways

Etihad Airways Boeing 777An Etihad Airways Boeing 777-300ER.


After ranking number seven in 2021, Etihad Airways jumped to number two this year. The Abu Dhabi-based airline is one of the flag carriers of the UAE and flies to destinations in the Middle East, Africa, Europe, Asia, North America, and Australia.

1.  Air New Zealand

Air New Zealand.Air New Zealand.

Philip Pilosian/

Rounding out the top 20 list this year is Air New Zealand after taking the number three spot in 2021. ANZ is the country’s national carrier and serves Australia, the Pacific, Asia, and North America.

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