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ATRA releases airline holistic safety ratings for 2012

June 13, 2012, Geneva, Sui. - The independent Swiss rating agency "Air Transport Rating Agency" (ATRA) is releasing the second yearly 2012 holistic safety rating for commercial airlines.

June 13, 2012  By Carey Fredericks

The Air Transport Rating Agency is the only rating agency using an objective mathematical multi-criteria approach, which takes into account the complexity of air safety in order to obtain results which are tangible, meaningful and that can be reproduced without any arbitrary weighting systems: the ATRA holistic safety rating.

Using mainly available public data sources, ATRA has selected 15 criteria contributing to a general safety profile. Quantitative parameters (such as the average age of the fleet) or qualitative parameters (such as the homogeneity of the fleet) were computed using mathematical algorithms in order to generate a synthetic indicator and to present a meaningful scientific rating.

Most safety rankings are based on accident statistics as single criteria. This approach is very limited and misleading because accidents in commercial aviation are extremely rare and accident rates cannot be used to derive any valid statistical interpretations beyond simple descriptive information and case-by-case learning useful for the entire aviation community.

Although the European Union publishes a "black list" of airlines not reaching a certain level of safety requirements, there are real differences in terms of safety profiles among the other airlines belonging to the "white list". A conjunction of very rare factors can occur with any carrier but one single accident significantly impacts a company reputation, whatever the causes and responsibilities. The innovative and unique approach of the ATRA holistic safety rating is to take into account a number of parameters, which contribute to general safety, without being necessarily directly attributed to safety management or accident history.


The quality and originality of the ATRA scientific multi-criteria approach adapted to the aviation sector, explains why a number of financial analysts, insurers and travel agencies use the ATRA holistic safety rating as reference.

From a dataset of the 92 most important airlines in term of financial revenues, the top ten airlines 2012 (2010 data) from the holistic safety profiles are (by alphabetic order):

Air Canada
Air France-KLM
AMR Corporation (American Airlines and American Eagles)
Delta Airlines
International Airlines Group (British Airways)
Southwest Airlines
United-Continental Holdings
US Airways


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