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The World’s Most Dangerous Airlines

AirlineRatings.com has released a list of the world’s most dangerous airlines to fly, basing them on a rating scale out of seven stars. The airlines below all have a rating of two stars or below and are rated on factors such as is the airline certified by the International Air Transport Association Operational Safety Audit (IOSA), are they blacklisted from the European Union, have they been fatality free for 10 years, are they FAA approved and do they meet all 8 of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) safety parameters. To explain; the IOSA certification is an evaluation system designed to assess the management and control system of an airline whereas the ICAO measures the standards and regulations necessary for aviation safety, security, efficiency and regularity. Most of these airlines do not offer in-flight products, have terrible on time performance and have been grounded or investigated at least once in their lifetime. Between bomb threats, hijackings, overshot runways and crashes; these twelve airlines have a history of being unsafe. Discover the world’s most dangerous airlines according to AirlineRatings.com.

13. Yeti Airlines

Yeti Airlines is the parent company to Tara Air (mentioned later); an airline that was rewarded only one-star by AirlineRatings.com. Yeti Airlines comes in with two-stars however, being rewarded for being fatality free and FAA endorsed. Based in Kathmandu, Nepal this airline was established in 1998 and together with Tara Air forms the largest domestic flight operator in Nepal. Yeti Airlines serves ten domestic destinations with seven aircrafts in operation.

In the past decade Yeti Airlines has had a handful of incidents resulting in the deaths of over thirty passengers and crew as well as destroying a couple of aircrafts. They do boast the highest on time performance of any airline in Nepal though and offer beverages and snacks on flights. Yeti Airlines also offers an hour long express Everest mountain flight that remains popular with visitors. Like all Nepalese airlines they are banned from flying into the European Union airspace and have not completed any components of the IOSA.

Yeti Airlines mountain runway

12. Sriwijaya Air

This Indonesia airline comes in with a two-star rating as the country’s third largest airline. Sriwijaya Air is a privately owned airline that started its operations in 2003 and services cities within Indonesia and 3 international destinations. This airline is classified as a medium service airline and does offer snacks and beverages throughout the flights. They had hoped to be a full-service airline by 2013 but that has not yet happened as of 2015.

In regards to safety, Sriwijaya Air is lacking in a lot of departments. With no international safety recognition, blacklisted from flying into European air space and not being FAA approved it was only the lack of fatalities that earned them any stars. Not without incident though, this airline has had a number of runway incidents that have resulted in injury and aircraft damage.  Sriwijaya Air has a large fleet of aircraft, totaling 39 with an average lifespan of 24 years old and has been in negotiations to replace a large number of the aging aircrafts. Perhaps with newer aircrafts and added destinations this airline will consider participating in safety certifications that will bump their star rating up in the coming years.

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11. Air Bagan

One of the only two-star rated airlines on this list that is allowed to fly into European airspace is Air Bagan. Established in 2004 Air Bagan operates domestically in Myanmar with over 20 destinations. International flights were a go-ahead in 2007 but since have been cancelled due to safety concerns. Only one international destination remains on their flight schedule. Another fact about this airline is that U.S citizens are prohibited from dealing with this airline due to U.S sanctions against the Myanmar government.

With two accidents and a handful of fatalities Air Bagan looks to be slightly safer than most others on this list especially considering they are well on their way to completing the necessary requirements for the ICAO audit. Air Bagan also offers good in-flight products with meals and beverages offered on all their flights no matter what the flight length and distance. Passengers seem to like this airline so we expect to see them rise in ratings as they obtain further safety accreditation.

plane flying indonesia

10. Susi Air

The airlines of Indonesia seem to be heading up the race for two-star ratings from AirlineRatings.com. The combination of extreme terrain, smaller panes, weather, non-cooperation from local tribes and communication difficulties with air traffic control are all factors that contribute to the safety of these airlines. Susi Air operates commercial and charter flights throughout the islands of Indonesia and has been around since 2004. They are one of the only airlines in Indonesia that hires most of their pilots from Western Countries; most often hiring young pilots wanting to clock up their flying hours.

Besides being banned from flying into the European Union, Susi Air has another type of ban on them. After a rough decade of crashes and casualties United States Embassy personnel are now prohibited from flying on this airline. Due to the nature of the planes, don’t expect any flight crew other than the pilots. With an open cockpit and access to all of the pilot’s controls passengers who are rowdy also pose a serious safety threat to these flights. Although Susi Air is said to be one of the better Indonesian Airlines, expect them to stay at about 2 stars in the safety rating from AirlineRatings.com.

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9. Merpati Airlines

Merpati Airlines was established in 1962 by the Indonesian government as the second-state airline. Currently it is a major domestic airline with service to over 25 destinations in Indonesia, as well as flying to East Timor and Malaysia. The history of this airline has been a financial mess and as of January 2015 the airline is not operating any flights. The fate of the airline is up in the air as the Indonesian government has promised to invest the money they need to start flying again.

As for their safety record, in the past decade they have had over 50 casualties over six serious incidents and are banned from flying in any European airspace due to safety concerns. Merpati boasts a training center and pilot school which makes their safety record even more surprising. In the past this airline has expressed interest in obtaining their IATA Operational Safety Audit (IOSA) from International Air Transport Association but with unpaid fuel bills, unhappy employees and frozen operations we would be shocked if they are still an airline by the time this study comes out again next year.

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8. Daallo Airlines

This two-star safety rated airlines has some of the worst passenger reviews in regards to safety, cleanliness and service. Daallo Airlines is a Somali owned airline with its headquarters in Dubai and its main operating hub at Djibouti–Ambouli International Airport. Destinations include the Horn of Africa and the Arabian Peninsula. Facts and information are hard to come by about this airline and perhaps this is what makes it even more unsafe.

All flight operations were grounded in 2010 for Daallo Airlines but resumed later in the year; with no reason given as to why. As for the safety record, although this airline hasn’t suffered any casualties there have been a couple serious incidents. An unsuccessful hijack attempt took place in 2009 and in 2010 a man tried to board a flight with enough explosives to blow up the plane. Now banned from the European Union with no recognized safety certificate; you may want to add Daallo Airlines to your list of airlines to avoid flying.

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7. Ariana Afghan Airways

The largest airline of Afghanistan comes in with a safety rating of two stars according to AirlineRatings.com. Established in 1955 this airline has been blacklisted from the European Union since 2006 due to safety concerns. During the Taliban era the airline was completely grounded and has to rebuild itself after the overthrow. The UN lifted the sanctions that were preventing the airline from flying internationally although the EU blacklist continues to this day.

Due to its age and history the safety record of Arian Afghan Airways is not a pretty one. As of 2014 they had written off 19 aircrafts and counted a total of 154 casualties. Although most of these incidents occurred in the late 1990’s; there are enough of them to justify a low safety rating. No internationally recognized safety audit certificate also bumps this airline down to two stars. Currently operating to three domestic sites and seven international destinations it seems this airline isn’t proactive in trying to earn further safety accreditation.

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6. Bluewing Airlines

Bluewing Airlines, a regional carrier based out of Zorg en Hoop Airport in Paramaribo, Suriname has operated since 2002. This small airline generally transports passengers to destinations in the interior of Suriname, Guyana, Brazil, Venezuela and the Caribbean. The airline has spent time on and off the blacklist for the European Union and currently in 2015 remains banned from flying into the EU.

Bluewing has had its share of problems from aircraft safety issues to crashes. In the early 2000’s the four Antonov 28s that were part of their fleet came under fire for not meeting specific safety regulations including the absence of Ground Proximity Warning Systems (GPWS) on board. In the past decade there have been a number of crashes with both crew and passenger deaths. With a poor safety record, a blacklist from the EU and often poor landing conditions it is not likely that this airline will be awarded more than two stars in the near future.

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5. Tara Air

Tara Air, a subsidiary of Yeti Air (previously mentioned) is a newly formed airline being established in 2009 and uses the Yeti Air fleet. With its main hub at the Tribhuvan International Airport this airline operates the short take off and landing services, focusing on remote and mountainous airports and landing strips. This small fleet of 8 aircraft earned its one star from being FAA approved.

The safety record of Tara Air, to put it gently, is not good. In the years 2010 and 2011 there were three incidents that resulted in 22 deaths of passengers and crew. Small aircrafts combined with the extreme mountainous terrain make flying this airline a risk. Tara Air is also banned from flying into the EU and has no internationally recognized safety certificate although rumor has it that this airline is working towards obtaining possible IOSA recognition in the future. We will keep an eye on this airline over the coming years to see if they can move themselves up on the star rating.

4. Lion Air

Indonesia’s largest privately run airline started operations in the year 2000 and perhaps has the worst safety record on this list, along with a slew of other issues it has faced since being established. In the fourth most populous country the demand for medium-haul jets has been on the rise and Lion Air has stepped forward with significant orders of Boeings and Airbus. Lion Air flies passengers to over 80 destinations and has jointly established two additional airlines in Malaysia and Thailand.

The safety record for Lion Air can rightfully be called atrocious with over eight serious incidents and a number of fatalities in the last decade. From overshot runway landings to water crashes it’s surprising that this airline hasn’t had more casualties. Just recently in 2012 Lion Air came under scrutiny for pilots and crew being in possession of methamphetamine (aka crystal meth). As expected they are banned from flying into the European Union and as of January 2015 the ministry of transportation had frozen fifty-three of their routes. It’s no shock that Lion Air is only given one-star from AirlineRatings.com and expects them to stay at that rating for some time, unless drastic changes are made.

Lion Air

3. Nepal Airlines

The only airline in the one-star category to even get an in-flight product rating is Nepal Airlines, formally known as Royal Nepal Airlines. It was Nepal’s first airline in 1958 with a handful of domestic flights. It has now grown to flying to over 39 destinations including seven international ones. None of these destinations include anywhere in the European Union as all Nepalese airlines are blacklisted; including Nepal Airlines.

The safety record for this airline isn’t pretty. Since the 1960’s there have been numerous incidents and accidents resulting in the deaths of passengers and crew members. The most recent accident occurred in 2014 when a plane went missing on-route to Jaumla and crashed; resulting in the deaths of 18 people. Nepal Airlines has not participated in any of the internationally recognized safety audits and continues to be one of the world’s most dangerous airlines according to AirlineRatings.com. This airline has recently purchased a few new aircrafts including an Airbus A320 and will be using that to fly to Southeast Asia and the Middle East.

2. SCAT Airlines

The low cost carrier SCAT Airlines was established in 1997 and operates out of its man hub Shymkent Airport with service to all major cities of Kazakhstan and neighboring countries. Rewarded a ranking of one star by AirlineRatings.com this airline is deemed one of the most dangerous airlines in the world according to this study. The airline is in fact FAA approved and that is what earned them the one star. SCAT is banned from entering European airspace though after an audit by the ICAO deemed them non-compliant in keys areas of regulatory oversight.

SCAT has been accident and incident free for the most part since operations commenced but just recently in 2013 suffered a loss. An aircraft carrying 21 people crashed while flying from Kokshetau to Almaty and all onboard perished. A few other minor incidents have occurred with this airline and it continues to operate without an internationally recognized safety audit certificate. The good news about SCAT is they are genuinely trying to improve and working towards professional accreditation.

plane landing

1. Kam Air

Coming in with just one star Kam Air is amongst only 4 others that topped the list for the most dangerous airlines in the world. This Afghanistan based airline is based out of Kabul and has been in operation since 2003. Kam Air was the first ever privately owned passenger airline in Afghanistan and operates domestic passenger’s services and regional international services. Kam Air did try to schedule flights into Europe but as of 2010 the European Union (EU) banned all afghan carriers from flying into the EU due to safety concerns.

Kam Air has had its share of incidents in the past 12 years which include a crash that resulted in the deaths of 96 passengers and 8 crew members. Other incidents include a bomb threat that resulted in the plane being diverted and a tail strike incident that was not taken seriously by the airline; thus resulting in the ban from the EU. Along with not completing the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) audit Kam Airlines is also not allowed into American airspace. This airline is clearly failing at becoming a safer airline and will most likely remain on the bottom of this list for a long time.

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