Australia's Qantas Airlines has kept its title of the safest airline in the world, even during the time of COVID-19.
In a ranking by AirlineRatings.com released Monday, Qantas came out on top among 385 airlines, for its "truly amazing record of firsts in operations and safety."
Factors that went into the ranking included the airline's crash and serious incident record, government and industry audits, safety initiatives (including new COVID-19 protocol) and fleet age.
Qantas was highly ranked for its position as a leader in the development of safety initiatives like Future Air Navigation System (a system which allows communication between pilots and Air Traffic Control), real-time engine monitoring and automatic landings using Global Navigation Satellite System. Over the past 60 years, Qantas has been either the first or second airline in the world to implement 16 major safety enhancements across its fleet.
In response to the pandemic, Qantas altered its dining service and began social distancing while boarding, earning it seven out of seven possible safety stars in the ranking.
"All airlines have incidents every day and many are aircraft manufacture issues, not airline operational problems," AirlineRatings.com Editor-in-Chief Geoffrey Thomas said in a statement. "It is the way the flight crew handles incidents that determines a good airline from an unsafe one."
In addition to its long-running safety history, Qantas is also a beloved airline. When 1,000 former bar carts went up for sale earlier this year, they sold out within two hours.
Runners up in the ranking were Qatar Airways, Air New Zealand, Singapore Airlines and Emirates. The highest-ranked U.S. airline was Alaska Airlines, coming in at number eight.
Cailey Rizzo is a contributing writer for Travel + Leisure, currently based in Brooklyn. You can find her on Twitter, Instagram, or at caileyrizzo.com.
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