SINGAPORE (BLOOMBERG) - The world's safest and most punctual airlines are in the Asia-Pacific region.
Qantas Airways was named safest airline in the world on a Top 20 list published by AirlineRatings.com, followed by Air New Zealand and Taiwan's Eva Airways. Singapore Airlines was sixth, Cathay Pacific Airways ninth and Virgin Australia Holdings 10th.
AirlineRatings.com said it takes into account factors including audits by governing and industry bodies, crash and serious incident record, profitability and fleet age.
Separately, the Aviation Safety Network said earlier this week that the number of fatal aviation accidents in 2019 rose above the five-year average to 20, with more than half occurring in North America.
The 20 crashes killed 283 people, with the bulk of the deaths coming from the Ethiopian Airlines disaster in March, when a Boeing 737 Max jet plunged into the ground shortly after take-off, killing all 157 people on board. That led to the global grounding of the jet.
Last year's total included 11 accidents in North America, compared to just one in that region in 2018 and three in 2017, the Aviation Safety Network said. There were 15 accidents worldwide in 2018.
Still, based on the number of overall fatalities, 2019 was the third-safest year ever, the network said. The five-year average is 14 accidents and 480 fatalities, the Netherlands-based organisation said. Last year's figures suggest one fatal accident per almost two million flights, it said. The organisation's statistics are for civil aircraft certified to carry 14 or more passengers.
Five of the accidents in North America last year occurred in rugged parts of Alaska and Canada, the Aviation Network said. "Despite progress made through various safety initiatives by Canadian and US regulators, this still is an area of concern," it said.
In a separate survey by OAG Aviation Worldwide, Garuda Indonesia was crowned 2019's most punctual carrier. Panama's Copa Airlines ranked second among airlines arriving or departing within 15 minutes of scheduled times. Japan's Skymark Airlines, Hawaiian Airlines and Latam Airlines Group rounded out the top five. Among major US carriers, Delta Air Lines was the only one to make it into the top 20.
The number of global air passengers will double to 8.2 billion by 2037 thanks to economic growth and a swelling middle class, according to the International Air Transport Association (IATA). More than half of those fliers will come from the Asia-Pacific region, led by demand from countries like China and India. About 4.7 billion people are expected to travel this year, 4 per cent more than in 2019, IATA said in December.
Among mega airports ranked by OAG - those catering to more than 30 million airline seats - Moscow Sheremetyevo topped the list for the best on-time performance last year. The ranking is based on the proportion of flights at each airport that arrive and leave within 15 minutes of scheduled times.
In contrast to the poor showing of its airlines, US airports were top performers for punctuality. Six of the top 10 on-time airports were American, with Atlanta ranking fourth. Seattle came in fifth and Los Angeles seventh. John F. Kennedy airport entered the top 10, while Bangkok and Amsterdam dropped out.