Air Asia Zest Lands Near Bottom of Airline Safety List

Australian website,, has ranked Philippine carrier AirAsia Zest near the bottom of its airline safety ratings index. The website publishes a list of carriers ranking them on a number of criteria related to aviation safety. Out of a maximum possible score of seven stars - representing the highest possible safety rating - AirAsia Zest scored a mere three, placing it near the bottom of the list.

Copyright Photo: Angelo Agcamaran/PPSG
AirAsia Zest's sister carriers, AirAsia Malaysia and AirAsia Indonesia were also included on the list but the other AirAsia affiliates managed to earn a rating of four. The report comes following the recent crash of an Indonesia AirAsia flight, which crashed into the Java Sea on December 28 as it was heading to Singapore.

Surprisingly, Malaysia Airlines was not included on the lower end of the safety rating, scoring a five out of seven in spite of the two tragic accidents that it endured last year. Of the 449 airlines rated on the website, five carriers carry a rating of one star or less. Those airlines include two carriers from Nepal, SCAT Airlines of  Kazakhstan, Kam Air of Afghanistan, and Indonesian low-cost carrier, Lion Air. These carriers are considered some of the most dangerous airlines in the world and are banned from serving the United States and European Union. 

Launched in 2013, proudly declares itself as the only airline safety rating website in the world. The website is an initiative of Aerospace Technical Publications International and The West Australian Newspaper. According to the website, the safety rankings are based on audits from governing bodies of the aviation industry. It also factors in government audits and a carrier's fatality record.

Although the aviation industry traditionally enjoys an enviable safety record, last year ended as one of the worst years for aviation fatalities. Twenty-one fatal accidents were recorded in 2014, resulting in 986 fatalities. However, two of those were unprecedented accidents involving Malaysia Airlines aircraft, which represented 537 fatalities. While the number of fatalities recorded last year were above the ten-year average, the website insists that air travel continues to be the safest method of transportation.

A record 3.3 billion passengers are now carried on some 27 million flights annually. The unusually high 986 fatalities recorded in 2014 falls far short of the staggering 87 crashes that claimed the lives of 1,597 people fifty years ago, when the world's airlines flew only 141 million passengers annually. 

The website factors in crash data, government data, and statistics from the International Air Transport Association when generating the results for its seven star system. All airlines are measured on the following criteria:
  • Is the airline currently listed on the European Union Blacklist?
  • Has the airline been IATA Operational Safety Audit certified?
  • Is the airline endorsed by the US Federal Aviation Administration?
  • Has the airline maintained a fatality free record in the last ten years?
  • Are there any Russian built aircraft operating in the fleet?
  • Does the airline's country of origin meet all eight ICAO safety parameters?
  • Has the carrier's fleet ever been grounded by the home country's governing aviation safety agency due to safety concerns?
AirAsia Zest joins forty other carriers that earned three stars or less. The carrier's fleet was grounded by the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines in August of 2013 due to safety related concerns. Meanwhile, Cebu Pacific scored four out of seven, while Philippine Airlines scored six out of seven.

Australian flag carrier, Qantas, was declared the safest airline in the world for its fatality free record in the jet era. Of the ten airlines listed as the safest airlines in the world, seven currently serve the Philippines: Qantas, Emirates, Etihad, Cathay Pacific, Singapore Airlines, EVA Air, and All Nippon Airways.


  1. safety is more important ever. even without IFE, I will choose the safest airlines. I just bring my own ipad with big big battery bank if it is long haul. of course, if wireless IFE is available, the better!!!

  2. Without undermining the safety processes involved, I believe the consequences of a fatal accident should given more weight since it manifests the most significant event we are trying to prevent- the loss of human life.
    AirAsia Zest never had any fatal accident for that matter since its inception.

    Both FAA and EASA audit and sanction state regulators, not airlines.

    This seems like an IATA survey, I see a clear bias in favor of IATA Operational Safety Audit” (IOSA) certified airlines. Being IOSA certified does not necessarily mean the airline is safer. It may not mean anything at all. This bias gives us a glimpse of how they do their audits and confirm our reason for not undergoing this expensive exercise that lacks integrity. Not to be insensitive, but what gives credence to the chosen criteria which favors IOSA audited airlines even if they have multiple fatal accidents?

    Why is another airline with 2 incidents and 2 accidents in a span of 21 days in 2013 given a better ranking than AIrAsia Zest??? Are we redefining safety here?

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