Tuesday, June 5, 2012

How do you know your airline is safe?

By Marnie Hunter,
June 4, 2012
(CNN) -- Beyond a vague familiarity with the world's major airlines, most travelers know little about the hundreds of carriers transporting passengers across the globe. 

Sunday's deadly air crash in Nigeria raises questions about the safety of international airlines. So how do passengers find safety information? There are several things travelers should look for to gauge an airline's safety, according to Bill Voss, CEO of the Flight Safety Foundation, an international nonprofit organization.

In short, you're looking for a Category 1 ranking from the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration and registration with the International Air Transport Association, an international trade group. Membership with a major airline alliance helps, and you likely want to avoid airlines banned by the European Union.

The Federal Aviation Administration looks at international aviation regulators. The FAA program assesses the safety standards of the civil aviation authorities of countries with airlines operating in the United States. "We look at the ability of the aviation authority in the country to administer its aviation community in accordance with international regulations. We don't look at individual airlines," said FAA spokesman Les Dorr.

Countries with aviation authorities that meet standards set by the International Civil Aviation Organization receive a Category 1 ranking. Those that don't receive a Category 2 designation.
Category 2 countries:
Civil aviation authorities in the following countries do not meet international standards: 

Source: FAA 
Nigeria, the site of the crash that killed more than 160 people, has a Category 1 ranking. Twenty-five nations, nearly a quarter of those assessed, hold a Category 2 ranking, including the Philippines, Bangladesh, Barbados, Cote D'Ivoire, Ghana, Indonesia and Israel.MORE: http://edition.cnn.com/2012/06/04/travel/airline-safety-rankings-consumer-tips/index.html
FAA Safety Assesments:  http://www.faa.gov/about/initiatives/iasa/