A leading aviation group has revealed the world’s 20 safest airlines for 2021 – and it’s Qantas that’s No1 again. The ranking has been drawn up by Australia-based AirlineRatings.com, which monitors 385 carriers and takes into account audits from aviation governing bodies, government audits, airlines’ crash and serious incident records, fleet age and pilot training and culture. Other airlines making the top 20 ranking this year include British Airways, American Airlines, United Airlines, Delta Air Lines and Virgin Atlantic/Virgin Australia. The editors of AirlineRatings.com noted that over its 100-year history as the world’s oldest continuously operating airline, Qantas ‘has amassed a truly amazing record of firsts in operations and safety and is now accepted as the industry’s most experienced airline’. AirlineRatings.com editor-in-chief Geoffrey Thomas said: ‘Australia’s Qantas has been recognised by the British Advertising Standards Association in a test case as the world’s most experienced airline. The editors of AirlineRatings.com noted that over its 100-year history as the world’s oldest continuously operating airline, Qantas ‘has amassed a truly amazing record of firsts in operations and safety and is now accepted as the industry’s most experienced airline’ ‘Qantas has been the lead airline in virtually every major operational safety advancement over the past 60 years and has not had a fatality in the pure jet era.’ In second place is Qatar Airways, followed by Air New Zealand in third, Singapore Airlines in fourth and Emirates in fifth. Eva Air is sixth, Etihad Airways is seventh, Alaska Airlines comes eighth, Cathay Pacific is ninth and British Airways comes 10th. The rest of the top 20 comprises Virgin Australia/Virgin Atlantic (11th), Hawaiian Airlines (12th), Southwest Airlines (13th), Delta Air Lines (14th), American Airlines (15th), SAS (16th), Finnair (17th), Lufthansa (18th), KLM (19th) and United Airlines (20th). Thomas added: ‘These airlines are standouts in the industry and are at the forefront of safety, innovation, and launching of new aircraft. ‘In fact, there is very little between the top 20, they are all standouts.’ AirlineRatings.com has also identified the top 10 safest low-cost airlines for 2021. In alphabetical order, they are Air Arabia, Allegiant, easyJet, Frontier, Jetstar Group, Jetblue, Ryanair, Vietjet, Westjet, and Wizz Air. Meanwhile, for the first time this year, AirlineRatings.com has named its top 20 Covid-19 compliant airlines, those which it believes have ‘gone above and beyond in the protection of passengers or in adding flexibility to travel’. The aviation group assessed airlines on website information about Covid-19 procedures, the provision of face masks for passengers and personal protective equipment for crew, the modification of meal services, the deep cleaning of aircraft, the provision of a personal sanitiser kit and social distancing on board. The top 20 airlines are, in alphabetical order, Air Baltic, Air New Zealand, Alaska Airlines, All Nippon Airways, AirAsia, British Airways, Cathay Pacific Airways, Delta Air Lines, Emirates, Etihad Airways, Eva Air, Japan Airlines, Jetblue, KLM, Korean Airlines, Lufthansa, Singapore Airlines, Southwest, Qatar Airways and Westjet. Mr Thomas said: ‘All these airlines have been trendsetters in making travel as safe as possible.’ News of the world’s safest airlines comes just days after another annual report revealed that the number of people killed in large commercial plane crashes rose in 2020 to 299 worldwide, even as the number of crashes fell by more than 50 percent. Aviation consulting firm To70 said in 2020 there were 40 accidents involving large commercial passenger planes, five of which were fatal, resulting in 299 fatalities. In 2019 there were 86 accidents, eight of which were fatal, resulting in 257 fatalities. More than half of all deaths in the To70 review were the 176 people killed in January 2020 when a Ukrainian plane was shot down in Iranian airspace. The second deadliest incident was the May crash of a Pakistan airliner, killing 98. The decline in crashes came amid a sharp decline in flights due to the coronavirus pandemic. Flightradar24 reported commercial flights it tracked worldwide in 2020 fell 42 percent to 24.4million.