Should you take the risk of flying with a foreign-owned budget airline?
Last month’s deadly crash of Indonesia’s Lion Air flight JT610 may give travellers some pause for thought about hopping onto a foreign-owned budget airline for an overseas holiday.
Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade staffers have since been ordered not to board a Lion Air aircraft until analysis of what went wrong is scrutinised.
The public has been given no such warning, despite the craft’s inexplicable plunge into the sea off Jakarta killing all 189 people on board.
And what of Lion Air stablemate Batik Air? That airline conducts two flights a day between Perth and Denpasar in Bali.
The United Nations’ International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) broadly categorises a country’s airlines and their aviation laws as either complying with eight safety standards or not.
Until 2016, Indonesian airlines were considered as being non-compliant. Other nations whose airline industries are deemed to fall outside the ICAO standards are: Thailand, Bangladesh, Ghana, Curacao and Sint Maarten.
Carriers that fall outside these standards are barred from flying over US airspace.
Thai Airways is a member of the Star Alliance, a code-share group that includes United Airlines, but does not fly in the US.
The European Union also has a blacklist which includes numerous airlines based in The Congo, Angola, Nepal and some east Asian countries. See the full list.
Identifying which, if any, airlines are banned from flying to Australia is a little harder. YourLifeChoices has made inquiries of the relevant body, the Civil Aviation Safety Authority, and was still waiting for a response at the time of publication.
Online aircraft website airlineratings.com allows readers to ascertain carrier’s star ratings on the basis of their host country’s aviation standards.
In January, the site published a list of what it considered the world’s safest 20 airlines and it is no surprise that Qantas and Virgin Australia are featured.
It also names the 10 safest budget airlines as Jetstar, Aer Lingus, Flybe, Frontier, HK Express, Jetblue, Thomas Cook, Virgin America, Vueling and Westjet.
Are you likely to fly with a foreign low-cost carrier following the Lion Air crash? Would you prefer to spend more money buying an expensive ticket with a reputable airline?
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