What Are the Most Dangerous Airlines? (Worldwide, USA)

Aircraft Crash

Airline safety record isn’t perfect; both Air France and American Airlines have racked up the highest numbers of fatal airline incidents over the past decade, while smaller airlines have seen fewer mishaps than larger ones.

American Airlines has been involved in over 800 fatal accidents since its inception in 1926. This makes it one of the deadliest airlines in history.

We’ve broken down airline safety records based on fatal accidents and incidents around the globe and within the United States.

The airlines that are most dangerous are Royal Nepal Airlines, Kazakhstan-based Scat Airlines, Bluewing Airlines out of Suriname and Ariana Afghan Airlines, Air Algeria, Iran Aseman Airlines and Pakistan’s Airblue.

On a safety grade scale of 8 stars, these Airlines only received one star. Several factors are taken into account to determine this list. Such as the recorded number of casualties per year and the number of accidents recorded per year. Other factors could be reputation of the airline and/or the state of the country of origin, amongst others.

If a determination were to be made of the most dangerous airlines based on number of crashes in a year, then the American Airlines and Air France would make the top list, as they have recorded 11 plane crashes each.

In terms of fatalities, American Airlines has recorded 853 fatality, the worst in the world.

Followed closely is China Airlines with 760 fatalities and Malaysian Airlines 537 fatalities.

Most Dangerous Airlines Worldwide

The year 2010 to 2019 had not been favourable for the Aviation industry. Numerous cases of plane crashes had made the news. But despite that, the world’s most dangerous airlines did not make the news for any crash. And that’s a piece of good news.

Though despite the reported alarming rate of crashes between those years, global aviation industry has continued to improve over the years.
In no particular order, the most dangerous airlines worldwide are:

  • Nepal Airlines: Nepal Airlines cannot escape the list of one of the most dangerous airlines worldwide as it has recorded over a dozen fatal crashes over the course of three decades. In spite of the fact that the airline does not fly to Himalayan airport of Lukla, one of the world’s most dangerous airport. On a scale of potential seven stars AirlineRatings.com gave it just one star.
  • Lion Air: Reputed to be very generous for its low fares, the Lion Air, very irresistible to passengers who want to fly on a low budget, is one of the most dangerous airlines worldwide. The airline has suffered countless crashes yet only one of it made major headlines.
    It is regarded as one of Indonesia’s most dangerous airlines, a glory it stole from Indonesia AirAsia, despite the latter’s crash in late 2014 of flight QZ8501.
  • Kam Air: Kam Air, not having stayed long in the aviation industry, has recorded a very fatal accident causing the loss of more than 100 passengers. This airline is based in Afghanistan and is not considered safe for the average backpacker to fly in, well except such a backpacker is owned by the U.S. Military. Kam Air is also one of the most dangerous airlines worldwide.
  • Tara Air: Tara Air like Kam Air shares same reputation as one of the most dangerous airlines worldwide. Though the airline is relatively new, just over 6 years, its only known crash was once, when one of its plane crashed and resulted in passenger fatalities. Tara Air operates in Nepal and passengers can easily avoid it due to its limited flight schedule only to rural Nepal. If the exploration of Himalaya foothill is your thing, you might have to journey overland from Kathmandu, or settle for flying with Tara Air. Where you have chosen the latter, it’s not an adventure that we think will be memorable, especially if you are flying from Kathmandu to Lukla, the very dangerous Himalayan airport is quite close to the Everest Base Camp treks. Undoubtedly, Tara is one of the most dangerous airlines worldwide.
  • SCAT Airline: This Kazakhstan-based SCAT Airline began operations in 1997, and despite just recording just a fatal crash, it is on the list of one of the most dangerous airlines worldwide. No other thanks to the fact that its regulatory process has been called to question. The European Commission blacklisted it due to lack of trust, even when the full meaning of the airline is “Special Cargo Air Transport.” Its reputation has not sit well with the Commission. If you have a planned trip to Kazakhstan, you’re better of choosing Air Astana, an airline on the list of less unsafe.

Most dangerous airlines in the US

Except for JetBlue and Spirit Airlines which have both not experienced any crash, USA carriers have all had a share of plane crashes. The most dangerous airlines in the US are:

  • Alaska Airlines which has had just one crash but recorded 88 deaths.
  • Delta Airlines with two accidents and 135 fatalities.
  • Followed next is American Airlines with 858 fatalities and 11 crashes, the highest of them all and possibly the most dangerous airline in the US.
  • United Airlines has registered 288 deaths and seven accidents.
  • Southwest Airlines has recorded three crashes but just 1 fatality.
  • Horizon Air also have suffered just 1 death from a single accident.

Other honourable mentions:

  1. Spirit: The only good thing to say about Spirit Airlines is low ticket prices and the rarity of baggage getting lost. As one of the most dangerous airlines in the US, expert reviews claim that in spite of boasting of very ticket prices, there are many hidden charges. Its customer service is below par and its seats are not desirable. No wonder the airline is not approved by the International Sit Transport Association.
  2. Hawaii Airline: Credit to its high quality service and great food. But that is where the hype stops. It has unreasonable ticket prices and the limited routes it plies makes it one of the most dangerous airlines in the US.
  3. JetBlue: The good side about JetBlue is its comfortable cabin. However, there is frequency in luggage losses and the delayed flights have soared quite recently.

Safest Airlines in the World

Based on most recent ranking and as reported by CNN in January 2022, Air New Zealand is the world’s safest airlines based on safety, number of crashes, the age of the aircraft, adherence to Covid-19 protocols and other operational innovation.

Followed closely in second position is Etihad Airways. Then in third position, we have Qatar Airways. Singapore Airlines comes fourth. And in the fifth position is TAP Portugal.

In conclusion, on spite of all that has been highlighted and explained above, the aviation industry is generally safe and regulations will continue to emerge to ensure that the airlines conform to best practices as can be offered in the industry, to ensure safety of passengers and comfort.

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