The editor-in-chief of Airline Ratings com, Geoffrey Thomas, has indeed ‘explained’  some of the issues raised here about the new safety and product rating site.

First and foremost Air France does NOT get a seven-star rating it gets 6/7 because of the tragic crash in 2009.

Secondly our rating system replies totally on objective measure to arrive at a level playing field assessment.

We use ICAO and IATA’s Operational and Safety (IOSA) audits, as you suggest the EU black list, the FAA assessment and then fatalities over the past 10 years.

You mention Lion Air as an example. It failed the IOSA audit, is banned from the EU and the US and tragically passengers have lost their lives.

Some ask why we don’t use incident reports.

And the answer is simple – what is a serious incident?

And will the country and / or airline actually report them – many do not.

One safety rating agency in Germany notes in its assessment notes that many countries do not report incidents or have limited reporting.

It also downgraded QF over the A380 incident yet it was not Qantas’s fault and the pilot’s skill level saved the day.

One would have thought you should upgrade the airline!

As for Jetstar – well the fact is it passed IOSA and ticks all the other “objective” boxes.

Another safety rating agency in Switzerland uses a basket of measures some of which I really question.

They include; load factor; number of employees, number of pilots; percentage of aircraft on order; distance flown and number of aircraft in service.

No rating system is perfect – can’t be as no one can predict what may happen.

But ours uses measures that are industry standards and that have improved air safety immeasurably and there can be no argument about that.

Sincerely hope this clarifies your concerns.

Best GT  


Some issues remain:

If the process followed by Airline Ratings produces the same 7/7 rating for Jetstar as Qantas, despite all of the matters raised under parliamentary privilege in Senate committee hearings, and by the ATSB (eventually) in the inquiries it has made, including one forced by a vigilant media, then it is fundamentally and deeply flawed.

If the process followed rates Air France above Lion Air for safety it is offering readers an absurd conclusion, although one that might be of comfort to those who have prejudicial views of Asia based carriers that ignore the failings of Europe based carriers.

The processes seem to accept without questioning the audits and judgements and evaluations of various safety organisations. This is contrary to journalism. We shouldn’t accept anything at face value, and in relation to Jetstar in particular, this is disturbing giving the level of detail made available on the public record about a number of incidents.

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