Wings Magazine

First ever scientific safety rating for airlines

June 28, 2010, Geneva, Switzerland - For the first time in aviation history, an independent Swiss agency, "Air Ranking International", is providing a scientific ranking for commercial airlines in respect of safety. The aim is to enable airlines to improve passenger safety on the basis of a detailed study using scientific multi-criteria calculations.

June 28, 2010

Although the European Union publishes a "black list" of dangerous airlines, there are real differences in terms of safety among the other airlines belonging to the white list. The Swiss agency Air Ranking International has developed a scientific multi-criteria approach that takes into account the complexity of air safety in order to obtain results which are tangible, meaningful and that can be reproduced: the ARI ranking.

These rankings are based on a "multiple correspondence analysis", which is a particular type of data analysis that can handle both quantitative and qualitative criteria. The specificity of this approach based on mathematical projections and matrix calculations, is that it does not use the somehow arbitrary weighting system generally used in rankings.

The result reveals, amongst other things, that although factors linked to the size of the airline (financial health, fleet size, headcount) have a major impact on the ranking, they cannot alone explain all the differences. Indeed, the analysis of air disasters very often shows an accumulation of technical, human and external causes.

Air Ranking International commissioned a group of international experts specialist in air safety and risk assessment to validate eighteen relevant indicators significantly contributing to flight safety. These quantitative (such as the average age of the fleet) or qualitative (the company has or does not have flight simulators) indicators were subjected to a mathematical analysis in order to build an overall safety index and to present the detailed ARI airline safety ranking.


The main priority of the "ARI ranking" is to inform the general public, but more detailed data is available for professionals (airlines, insurance companies, financial analysts, etc.) from Air Ranking International, such as technical ranking calculation reports, sub-rankings by type of airlines or by geographical area, experts' reports, etc.

The ARI ranking will be published every year in the second quarter, after collecting the data from the previous year and their mathematical processing.