If you watched the news or have paid attention to the headlinesrecently, you’ve seen the reports of a near miss between a JetBlueflight and a Caribbean Airlines flight at John F. KennedyInternational airport in New York on Jan. 19. You’ve also no doubtseen extensive coverage of the AirAsia crash on Dec. 28.

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With all this news, you may be wondering whether there are anysafe airlines left. Well, the answer is yes, according to AirlineRatings.com. Launched in June 2013 and calling itself“the world’s only safety and product rating website,” earlier thismonth AirlineRatings.com released its list of the top 10 safestairlines and the top 10 safest low-cost airlines for 2015.

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How did they come up with the list? The site's seven-starrating system looks at a variety of factors including auditsfrom the Federal Aviation Administration and the InternationalCivil Aviation Organization as well as government audits and eachairlines' fatality record. The editorial team also examined eachairline’s operational history, incident records and operationalexcellence.

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Of the 449 airlines surveyed, 149 achieved seven-star ratingsbut almost 50 have three stars or fewer. Kam Air (Afghanistan),Nepal Airlines, SCAT Airlines (Kazakhstan) and Tara Air (Nepal)have only one star for safety.

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Here is the team’s list of the top 10 safest airlines for 2015.After the number one airline, the rest are listed in alphabeticalorder.

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Qantas airplane on the tarmac

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Qantas is #1

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Qantas, founded in Australia in 1920 as the Queensland andNorthern Territory Aerial Services Limited, is the country’slargest domestic and international airline.

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It has a fatality free record in the jet era, has a significantrecord of firsts in safety and operations, and is generallyaccepted as the world’s most experienced airline.

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Air New Zealand check in sign

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Air New Zealand

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In addition to being among the top 10 safest airlines, Air NewZealand was chosen by AirlineRatings.com as its 2015 airlineof the year. The airline was selected for the secondconsecutive year for its in-flight innovations, financialperformance, operational safety and motivation of its staff, aswell as its continual focus on the environment.

Air New Zealand is being honored for the secondconsecutive year for its in-flight innovations, financialperformance, operational safety and motivation of its staff thathave cemented the airline an industry trendsetter. - See more at:http://www.airlineratings.com/news/400/air-new-zealand-wins-2015-airline-of-the-year#sthash.sYYsskUL.dpufAir New Zealand is being honored for the secondconsecutive year for its in-flight innovations, financialperformance, operational safety and motivation of its staff thathave cemented the airline an industry trendsetter. - See more at:http://www.airlineratings.com/news/400/air-new-zealand-wins-2015-airline-of-the-year#sthash.sYYsskUL.dpuf

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Flight arrivals board

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The remaining airlines in the list of the top 10 safest airlinesare:

  • British Airways
  • Cathay Pacific Airways
  • Emirates Airlines (United Arab Emirates)
  • Etihad Airways (United Arab Emirates)
  • EVA Air (Taiwanese airline)
  • Finnair
  • Lufthansa
  • Singapore Airlines

Icelandair plane with rear door open

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Top 10 safest low-cost airlines

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The 10 low-cost airlines on the list have all passed thestringent International Air Transport Association (IATA)Operational Safety Audit (IOSA) and have excellent safety records.Many non-IATA airlines also have chosen to do the IOSA audit,however, any airline that’s a member of IATA must complywith IOSA.

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In alphabetical order, they are

  • Aer Lingus
  • Alaska Airlines
  • Icelandair
  • JetBlue
  • Jetstar (a group of airlines that operates in Australia, NewZealand and the Pacific area)

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Monarch airlines plan and hills

  • Kulula.com (South African airline)
  • Monarch Airlines (British airline)
  • Thomas Cook (British charter airline)
  • TUI Fly (German airline)
  • Westjet (Canadian airline)

Passengers in airport

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(Photo: ID1974 / Shutterstock.com)

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Comparison of 2014 to 1964

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According to AirlineRatings.com, the 12 months of 2014 saw 21fatal accidents with 986 fatalities, higher than the 10-yearaverage. To put those numbers into perspective, across allairlines, 3.3 billion passengers traveled on 27 million flights. In1964, there were 87 fatal accidents with 1,597 fatalities with atotal of 141 million passengers, which is 5% of 2014’s total.

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When you consider these numbers, airline travel really is a safeway to get where you’re going.

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Full disclosure: I’ve been on Qantas, Air New Zealand, BritishAirways, Lufthansa and Singapore Airlines and had great trips onall of them. I’ve also had good trips on Aer Lingus, AlaskaAirlines, Icelandair and JetBlue. We'd love to know what yourexperience has been. Please share your views with us in thecomments section.

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Rosalie Donlon

Rosalie Donlon is the editor in chief of ALM's insurance and tax publications, including NU Property & Casualty magazine and NU PropertyCasualty360.com. You can contact her at [email protected].