Australia's flag carrier Qantas Airways Ltd's fatality free record in the jet age means it is the world's safest airline, for the fourth year running.
Ratings website AirlineRatings.com announced the carrier atop its Top 20 list on Friday, ahead of Cathy Pacific, Middle-eastern giant Etihad Airways, Singapore Airlines and local rival Virgin Australia.
While those in the Top 20, which are only listed alphabetically, are always leaders in safety, the website's editor Geoffrey Thomas said Qantas remains the leader in safety enhancement sand operational excellence.
"Over its 96-year history Qantas has amassed an amazing record of firsts in safety and operations and is accepted as the world's most experienced airline," Thomas said in a statement.
"Qantas has been the lead airline in virtually every major operational safety advancement over the past 60 years."
Qantas was the leader in the Future Air Navigation System, the Flight Data Recorder, which was developed by Australia's chief scientific body the CSIRO, to monitor plane and crew performance, as well as advances in automatic landings and precision approaches in mountainous regions.
The flag carrier was also the lead in real-time monitoring of its engines across its fleet using satellite communications, enabling problems to be detected before they become a major safety issue, the ratings website said.
The real time monitoring allowed Qantas to confirm its flagship Airbus A380 Nancy Bird Walton was still flying after initial media speculation the fabled QF32 on Nov. 4 2010 had crashed after a mid-air explosion in one of its engines.
The seasoned pilots at the controls managed to return to and make an emerging landing at Singapore with damage to its wing, fuel system, landing gear, flight controls, controls for another engine, preventing what could have been the world's worst aviation disaster.
Rounding out the top 20 safest airlines in alphabetical order are: Air New Zealand, Alaska Airlines, All Nippon Airways, British Airways, Cathay Pacific Airways, Delta Air Lines, Etihad Airways, EVA Air, Finnair, Hawaiian Airlines, Japan Airlines, KLM, Lufthansa, Scandinavian Airline System, Singapore Airlines, Swiss, United Airlines, Virgin Atlantic and Virgin Australia.
Top 10 safest low-cost carriers in alphabetical order: Aer Lingus, Flybe, HK Express, Jetblue, Jetstar Australia (Qantas), Jetstar Asia (Qantas), Thomas Cook, Virgin America, Vueling and Westjet.
At 11:25 local time (AEDT) Qantas shares were up 0.30 percent to 3.35 Australian dollars in a marginally stronger broader market.