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June 06, 2016

Despite air travel being one of the safest forms of transportation, accidents still (very unfortunately) happen. Whether it's extreme turbulence or unusual airplane tragedies, airlines are still making headlines. AirlineRatings.com—a website dedicated to reviewing airlines and travel-related products—recently published their annual list of airline safety records. Before you read too much into this list, not all airlines are included in the rating. This year's survey involved 407 airlines.

Each airline was judged on a number of data points: fatality records from the past 10 years, safety audit results from the International Air Transport Association, and whether or not the airline's origin country complies with the International Aviation Organization's eight-point safety parameter. Which airline came out on top? Qantas, which has held the No. 1 spot for three consecutive years. Ahead, the top 20 safest airlines of 2016 in alphabetical order:

  • Air New Zealand
  • Alaska Airlines
  • All Nippon Airlines
  • American Airlines
  • Cathay Pacific Airways
  • Emirates
  • Etihad Airways
  • EVA Air
  • Finnair
  • Hawaiian Airlines
  • Japan Airlines
  • KLM Royal Dutch Airlines
  • Lufthansa
  • Qantas
  • Scandinavian Airline System
  • Singapore Airlines
  • Swiss
  • United Airlines
  • Virgin Atlantic
  • Virgin Australia

Looking for more insight on the airplanes and airlines we can thank for our worldly travels? Read up on the germiest spots (hint: it's not the bathroom) on airplanes and in airports, airlines with the lowest safety ratings, the world's best airlines, where you can find the safest seat on an airplane, everything you need to know about airplane window design (why there's a tiny hole in them and why they're round), how you can actually get a sunburn on an airplane, and—finally—why food tastes different 40,000 feet in the air (no, you're not crazy).

Erika Owen is the Audience Engagement Editor at Travel + Leisure. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram at @erikaraeowen.

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