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September 1997 Vol. 12, No. 9   RSS Feed for Undercurrent Issues
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Airlines Graded

from the September, 1997 issue of Undercurrent   Subscribe Now

The Air Travelers' Association has introduced its first Airline Safety Report Card, which grades the safety performance of airlines worldwide. Each airline's grade is based on its fatal-accident rate. This calculations are transformed into letter grades: A is tops, F is lowest, just like when you went to school.

The first report, based on data from 1987 to 1996, reassuringly gives 83.8 percent of all the airlines graded an A rating. However, 11.2 percent received an F.

Of interest to divers is that all the Caribbean airlines got an A. The survey covers only airlines that flew more than 20,000 flights in the 10-year period, but these include ALM, Air Aruba, Bahamasair, Dominicana de Aviacion, Air Jamaica, Cayman Air, and BWIA.

Obviously not taking into account lost luggage and stranded divers, Taca managed an A, as did most Central American airlines, with the exception of Guatemala's Aviateca and Panama's Copa, which both received an F.

In Southeast Asia, Garuda and Thai International scored only a C. Of the two domestic carriers in Indonesia, Merpati scored an F while Sempati rated an A. Phillipine Airlines also made an F grade. Malayian Air, Silk Air, and Singapore Air all received an A.

The Air Travelers' Association intends to update the airline grade cards twice a year. I received my copy of the Report Card through their web site at www.1800AIRSAFE.COM (1-800- 247-7233 to order by phone). The report is free, but shipping and handling is $4.95 for the 20-page pamphlet. Also be aware that when you order the Report, you are automatically enrolled in Travel Advantage, a service that claims to provide airline, hotel, and car-rental savings. What is not mentioned in the Air Travelers' Association's literature or on their web page is that if you do not cancel your membership to Travel Advantage after the free three-month introductory period, your credit card will be charged $49.95.

J. Q.

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