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Thursday, 10 January 2013

Virgin Aust safer than Qantas - Rainman was Wrong

According to something called the Jet Airliner Crash Data Evaluation Centre (JACDEC), Rainman was wrong. Qantas is not the worlds safest airline. I think we all knew that anyway.

This week however, JACDEC has released its annual survey results of the safest airlines in the world. Qantas doesn't even make the top 10.

Here's the list:
Photo: worldairlinenews.com
  1. Finnair
  2. Air New Zealand
  3. Cathay Pacific
  4. Emirates
  5. Etihad
  6. Eva Air
  7. TAP Portugal
  8. Hainan Airlines
  9. Virgin Australia
  10. British Airways
We don't know exactly where Qantas does come, as the full results wont be out until next month in the German aviation magazine Areointernational.

Apparently, the calculations are "based on our annual safety calculations which include all hull loss accidents and serious incidents in the last 30 years of operations in relation to the revenue passsenger kilometers (RPK) performed in the same time. We also took into account the international safety benchmarks such as the IOSA Audit and the USOAP country factor. Furthermore we included a time weightening factor which increases the effect of recent accidents and weakening the impact of accidents in the past. All calculation data ends after a period of 30 years."

All that basically means that Qantas's golden run in the 80's & 90's counts less than the QF1 Bangkok runway overrun in 1999, QF30's mini mid-air explosion in 2008 & the spectacular QF32 engine explosion in 2010.
Photo: ATSB
That's not to say that all those incidents were Qantas's fault, or that it hasn't learned from them.

Photo: ATSB
The Bangkok incident occurred at a time when, due to soaring fuel prices, Qantas pilots were effectively banned from using reverse thrust on landing. Unfortunately, stopping a B747 after landing long in a tropical thunderstorm at night proved impossible without it. Since then, I've personally observed Qantas heavies showing no hesitation to use it, even in perfect conditions on SYD 34L, one of the longest commercial runways in the world.

And the much celebrated QF32 incident involved a defective part in a brand new Rolls Royce engine on a brand new Airbus A380. Rolls Royce accepted responsibility for the incident & has compensated Qantas accordingly. Meanwhile Captain Richard de Crespigny & his highly skilled flight crew on the day have been justifiably near-immortalised as heros, for safely nursing 469 souls & the crippled pride of the Qantas fleet back to Singapore.

Unfortunately, all that doesn't mean much to JACDEC.

Photo: ATSB
Three Strikes & Qantas is out of the top 10
So for now, hats off to Finnair, & more locally, Air New Zealand & Virgin Australia. Qantas will just have to cop this on the chin as it continues to belligerently stumble on.

For more info on JACDEC, click here: http://www.jacdec.de/

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