Emirates named world’s safest airline during Covid-19

The Dubai airline ranked first and Abu Dhabi's Etihad came second in a rating of airline safety policies during the pandemic

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Emirates has been named the safest airline in the world during the global pandemic, by Safe Travel Barometer.

The Dubai airline took the top spot in the safest airline rankings by Safe Travel Barometer, which monitors Covid-19 health and safety protocols and traveller experiences on airlines around the world.

The site studies health and safety measures announced by travel brands and details more than 1,500 companies across 10 industry categories and 50 parameters. It also analyses traveller arrival information from more than 80 destinations.

Emirates scored 4.4 out of a maximum 5 for its Covid-19 safety protocols. These include thermal screening, health declaration forms, complimentary face masks and hand sanitiser for travellers and full PPE for crew. The airline was commended for its complimentary Covid-19 insurance and its flexible cancellation policy which allows passengers to receive flight credit valid for two years if travel plans change.

The airline lost points for not providing full PPE kits to passengers and for making it optional for those flying Emirates to have downloaded a contact-tracing app. It also scored no points for its empty middle seat policy on flights, which is only applied when flight loads allow.

Etihad Airways, the national airline of the UAE, ranked second in the list with a score of 4.3, just slightly behind Emirates.

The airline was praised for its Covid-19 travel insurance coverage and its compulsory coronavirus testing before flights.

It lost points for not allowing passengers to bring carry-on bags on to flights, a rule the airline implemented during the pandemic, and not having consistently empty middle seats.

From the top 10 airlines in the ranking, only Delta Air Lines from the US scored points for having a policy to keep middle seats empty.

The 10 safest airlines during the global pandemic

Here's the top 10 ranking, including scores for the airlines deemed safest by Covid-19 protocols, according to the Safe Travel Barometer:

1. Emirates; 4.4

2. Etihad; 4.3

3. Qatar Airways; 4.2

4. Singapore Airlines; 4.1

5. Vistara; 4.1

6. Air France; 4.1

7. Delta Air Lines; 4.1

8. Air China; 4.1

9. Lufthansa; 4.1

10. Iberia; 4.1

At the other end of the spectrum, three American airlines ranked at the bottom of the list: Endeavor Airlines, ExpressJet and SkyWest Airlines all scored less than one point.

Safe Travel Barometer was launched in 2020 to monitor global traveller health and safety measures, traveller convenience initiatives and overall experience. The Safe Travel Score ranking is an industry-first Covid-19 rating initiative, created after recovery from the pandemic.