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The scope of Thomas’ 425-strong ranking is the project’s most impressive component, but it’s only useful for researching small local carriers since all major global airlines top the list.

A website has produced what it described as “the world’s first comprehensive airline rating system” based on flight safety. was developed by Geoffrey Thomas, an Australian aviation author, and is the result of two years of “painstaking” work by a team of researchers.

It has assessed 425 airlines around the world, ranking them using a star rating system. One-star airlines, it claims, are the least reliable.

A total of 137 airlines have been given seven stars, the top mark, including British Airways, Flybe, Virgin Atlantic, Lufthansa and Aer Lingus.

Ryanair, easyJet, Monarch and were each given five stars.

More than 40 airlines were given three stars or fewer, including Lion Air based in Indonesia, Yeti Airlines in Nepal, and Solomon Airlines.

“We view safety holistically and objectively using only internationally recognised audits from the most respected bodies,” said Mr Thomas. “As someone who typically flies more than 75 days a year, I can tell you, it’s important to know more about the airline you’re about to hop onto than merely what they’re serving for lunch. In some parts of the world, people may be better off considering road or train options than risking a flight.

“For example, if you’re flying from London to Moscow, do you think Belavia Airlines would be a safe bet or not?” he added. “It is highly likely you haven’t heard of them and you may prefer to opt for a different airline, but Belavia has a perfect score of seven for safety.”

The website will be updated frequently, Mr Thomas added, with new information taken into account. also rates airlines in terms of “product”, based on passenger reviews. Just 11 carriers score top marks for both safety and service: Air New Zealand, Asiana Airlines, Cathay Pacific, Emirates, Etihad, EVA Air, Korean Air, Qantas, Royal Jordanian, Singapore Airlines and Virgin Atlantic.

Research released earlier this year by the Jet Airliner Crash Data Evaluation Centre, based in Germany, claimed that Finnair was the world’s safest airline. Air New Zealand, Cathay Pacific, Emirates and Etihad were also named among the five safest carriers, while BA came 10th, Virgin 15th, easyJet 17th and Ryanair 32nd. No US airlines made the top 20 – Southwest Airlines was the highest ranked at number 21.

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