While any plane crash in the modern age may feel like a freak occurrence,there’s no escaping the fact some airlines are safer than others.
That much is made clear by the existence of an EU “blacklist” of carriers banned from flying above European airspace, but a more thorough look at the incident logs of some of the world’s oldest airlines reveals that some are so safe they’ve never– or almost never – had a fatal crash.
Considering the jet era, beginning around the Fifties and Sixties, discounting the days when commercial air travel was a dangerous novelty in light aircraft, there is more than a handful of carriers to have never lost a life on one of their planes.
This week’s incident on a Southwest aircraft – in which a woman died after being half sucked out of a window that had been smashed by part of one of the plane’s engines –has provided a rare blot on the airline’s otherwise clean safety record.
Though not a crash, it is the American carrier’s first in-flight fatality.
Flying since 1971, the airline’s only other fatal incident was when in2005, a 737 overran the runway upon landing at Chicago Midway International in heavy snow conditions and slid into the street, striking a car and killing a six-year-old boy.
Qantas – Flying since 1921
The third oldest airline in the world, Qantas was cited in 1988 filmRain Man as an airline to have neverhad an aircraft crash. “Qantas. Qantas never crashed,” says Raymond,played by Dustin Hoffman.
And while this fits the bill as far as the Australian airline’s outstanding reputation for safety is concerned, itis not strictly true.
The airline has had eight fatal accidents,all before 1951, and with four taking place during the WWII whileQantas was operating planes on behalf of the Allies. Indeed, one aircraft was shot down.