Here are a few thoughts:

  • 'Real' accidents happen much too seldom to be of any real measure, and they would have to be compensated for the number of passenger kilometers as well to be objective. Large airlines may have be involved in more accidents, but they have more aircraft. Many airlines low down on the reports had accidents many years ago.
  • Avherald and the like may be good sources but emphasize that they don't report on all accidents.
  • Different jurisdictions have different reporting requirements.

What is a fair and unbiased method of measuring airline safety?

closed as too broad by DeltaLima, Bret Copeland Apr 15 '14 at 23:34

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  • Smaller incidents (like brief loss of control or ATC violations) that would be especially important for evaluating smaller airlines may not be reported, especially internationally. – fooot Apr 15 '14 at 15:22
  • I think this question is too opinionated. In order to measure safety, you have to define what you mean by safety, which is subjective and opinionated. How do you compare different accident types, and how much weight do they count for when scoring safety? Do you factor in training programs, and if so, how do you judge them? How relevant is a crash which happened five years ago versus one that happened yesterday? Different people/countries/organizations will all have different opinions. – Bret Copeland Apr 15 '14 at 18:32
  • @BretCopeland Safety is not really subjective. It is inverse to the probability of injury or death. The problem is that safety is so high in airlines, that in order to quantify it by traditional statistics it would take a very long time to collect enough data to make a significant measure. During that time, the safety of the operation is unlikely to be constant and therefore safety essentially is not measurable by looking at accidents. ... – DeltaLima Apr 15 '14 at 20:34
  • ... Accepting that, looking for alternatives becomes a very academic exercise which will cover incident statistics, corrected for fleet and routes, operating environments etc. And then one could look at CRM/ culture, training, maintenance organisation etc. While I like the question (and upvoted it) for this academic side, it also think its too broad to be answerable here and that's why I vote to close it. – DeltaLima Apr 15 '14 at 20:36
  • 1
    @DeltaLima you just defined safety as the probability of not being injured or killed, but that asserts that injuries and deaths are equal for measuring safety, and, in reality, they are not. So, how to you weigh minor and serious injuries against deaths? We understand the general premise of safety, but unless you strictly define it, it is up for interpretation. Generally, you would simply break up the things you care about and then calculate separate probabilities for them, but you can't rank airlines against each other unless you weight each probability, which is entirely subjective. – Bret Copeland Apr 15 '14 at 21:22

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