Breaking Down Airline Safety Records

The Daily Beast says it has determined which airlines in the U.S. are the safest by comparing the global statistics for the 25 airlines with the best safety records and those with the worst. Which is the safest? The answer may come as a surprise, since this methodology showed that AirTran is the safest national carrier.

AirTran? Really? Turns out that the discount carrier once known as ValuJet has turned safety into a priority.

“It has been a great five years for us in which our continual dedication to safety has paid off,” says Christopher White, a spokesman for AirTran. “Our 8,500 crew members make safety their No. 1 priority every day.

Meanwhile, United, accused of being the least safe of the major airlines, wasn’t impressed with the analysis. “It is difficult for us to comment on these figures because we do not know the methodology behind them,” said a United spokesperson.

You can see the Daily Beast’s results, here.

One interesting bit of information from the article is that the age of the actual aircraft in which you’re flying has less of an impact on safety than how long ago that particular model was designed. In aviation writer CLive Irving’s analysis of the research, he noted:

Last December a Continental 737 [designed in the 1950s] taking off from Denver aborted at the last second and, in icy conditions, skidded into a ravine. Thirty eight passengers were injured. The 737’s fuselage broke apart behind the wings, a failure typical of a design of that age.

Now look at the Miracle on the Hudson. The Airbus A320 [designed in the 1980s] hit the water at around 160 mph, a considerable impact. The fuselage remained in one piece, everybody got out. I doubt very much that would have been true in the case of a 737. Add to that the ability of the A320’s fly-by-wire controls to give Captain Sully Sullenberger a stable attitude on very little backup power and the Airbus technology is proved to be a real life saver.

How Safe Is Your Airline?
[The Daily Beast]
What to Know About Airline Safety Records [The Daily Beast]

(Photo: Chris Rief aka Spodie Odie)