January 23, 2013 The 10 most dangerous airlines or are they?
Yahoo.com’s always classy reporting on what is essentially a non-story and a non-issue. The Jet Airliner Crash Data Evaluation Centre (JACDEC), published their data on commercial aviation safety. While there is huge amount of data, Yahoo.com distilled it into the “The Ten Most Dangerous Airlines.” This list is based on lives lost and “hull-loss.” Hull-loss is where a carrier writes off an aircraft to their insurance carrier. Think of it as totaling your car. The list is as follows:
#10 SkyWest Airlines: 3 hull losses; 22 dead
#9 South African Airways: 1 hull loss; 159 dead
#8 Thai Airways International: 5 hull losses; 309 dead
#7 Turkish Airlines: 6 hull losses, 188 dead
#6 Saudia: 4 hull losses; 310 dead
#5 Korean Air: 9 hull losses; 687 dead
#4 GOL Transportes Aéreos: 1 hull loss; 154 dead
#3 Air India: 3 hull losses; 329 dead
#2 TAM Airlines: 6 hull losses; 336 dead
#1 China Airlines: 8 hull losses; 755 dead
Now lets look at the list with a break down of the fatalities and assigned blame
#10 Skywest 22 dead, Airline found responsible for 0 deaths.
1987, a student pilot collides with a Skywest Fairchild Metro causing 12 deaths.
1991, due to improper procedures at LAX, a US Air 737 landed on top of a Skywest Fairchild Metro causing 10 deaths on the Metro.
#9 South African Airways 159 Dead, Airline responsible for 0
1987, a cargo fire of unknown origin caused the mid-air break-up of SA295 (a 747-200 combi) causing the death of 159 people. Cause determined to be a design/regulation defect
#8 Thai Airways International: 309 dead: airline responsible for 309
1985, 737-200 crashed outside of Phuket, 11 died cause was pilot error
1987, 737-200 crashed outside of Phuket, 83 died cause was ground and pilot error
1992, 310-100 Crashed outside of Kathmandu, 113 died cause was pilot error
1998, 310-200 Crashed outside of Surat Thani, 101 died cause pilot error
2001, 737-400 Exploded at DMK airport, 1 died cause was improper servicing
#7 Turkish Airlines: 188 dead, airline responsible for 133 deaths.
1983, 727-200, Fire near ESP, 47 died, cause was weather
1994, 737-400, Crash near VAN, 52 died, cause was pilot error
1999, 737-400, Crash southern Turkey, 6 died, cause was pilot error
2003, ARJ-100, Crash near DIY, 75 died, cause was pilot error
2009, 737-800, Crash near AMS, 9 died, airframe defect.
#6 Saudia: 4 hull losses; 310 dead, Airline responsible for 0 deaths.
1996, 747-100, Mid-Air Collision, 312 died, Other airline at fault.
#5 Korean Air: 9 hull losses; 687 dead, Airline responsible for 319
1983, 747-200, Anti-Aircraft missile, 269 died, The Russian’s shot the flight down.
1987, 707-300, Bomb, 115 died, North Korean Agent confessed to planning and executing the bombing
1989, DC-10, Crashed short of Tripoli, 79 died, pilot error
1997, 747-300, Crashed near Guam, 228 died, pilot error
1999, MD-11, Crashed near Shanghai, 8 died, pilot error
1999, 747-200, Crashed near London, 4 died, pilot error
#4 GOL Transportes Aéreos: 154 dead Airline responsible for 0 deaths.
2006, 737-800, mid-air collision above Brazilian rain forest, 154 died, Other jet/Brazil ATC responsible.
#3 Air India: 329 dead, airline responsible for 0 deaths.
1985, 747-200, Mid-Air Bombing, 329 died, terrorism responsible.
#2 TAM Airlines: 336 dead, airline responsible for 336 deaths
1984, EMB-110, Crash near MEA, 18 died, pilot error
1986, EMB-110, Crash near ARU, 7 died, pilot error
1990, F-027, Crash near BAU, 1 died, pilot error
1996, F-100, Mechanical failure on takeoff, 95 died, mechanical failure
1997, F-100, Mechanical failure in-flight, 1 died, mechanical failure
2001, F-100, Mechanical failure in-flight, 1 died, mechanical failure
2007, 320-200, Fire near CGH, 186 died, pilot error
#1 China Airlines: 755 dead, airline responsible for 750 deaths.
1986, 737-200, Crash near Penghu, 13 died, pilot error
1989, 737-200, Crash near HUN, 54 died, pilot error
1991, 747-200, Crash near TPE, 5 died, design defect
1994, 300-600, Crash near NGO, 264 died, pilot error
1998, 300-600, Crash near TPE, 196 died, pilot error
1999, DC-10, crash near TPE, 3 died, pilot error
2002, 747-200, mechanical failure in-flight, 225 died, mechanical failure
So GOL, South African, Air India, SkyWest, and Saudia were each responsible for 0 deaths. It’s bad journalism for Yahoo to brand these airlines as “dangerous” when there are no fatalities attributable to them. It’s like being blamed when another driver runs a light and hits your car, it is just not your fault.
With the other five:
#5 Turkish Airlines, 155 (last fatal accident 2009)
#4 Thai Airways, 309 (last fatal accident 2001)
#3 Korean Air, 319 (last fatal accident 1999)
#2 TAM, 336 (last fatal accident 2007)
#1 China Airlines, 750 (last fatal accident 2002)
The statistics themselves are not to blame it’s how people use them. For example, the last fatal accident on SkyWest was 23 years ago and it wasn’t even their fault. While Korean Air has had problems they have been fatality free since 1999 and it hardly seems fair to blame them for the Russian’s shooting down their plane. The point is air travel is safe, even on the so-called “most dangerous carriers.” Creating yellow journalistic content just to drive traffic is at best reckless and misusing statistics is simply wrong. Yahoo shame on you!
In fact you have read about my travels on Thai and will read about my travels on Korean Air in a later post. I currently have travel booked on Thai, and this article is not going to get me to change those plans.
China Airlines has threatened Business Insider with a lawsuit over the content of the Yahoo!.com article which they (Business Insider). I have been asked to remove this piece. That’s not going to happen I will add, that there are some 300 IATA airlines that were apart of the JACDEC report and China Airlines came in 60th. I stand by my assertion that all of the airlines listed are safe and I would have no problem getting on any of the carriers listed above.
See my current article here,