Rest easy, nervous flyers – you’re in safe hands…

Emirates and Etihad are among the world’s 20 safest airlines, according to an annual ranking by

The website assessed 409 major airlines before reaching its verdict, taking into account previous incidents, fleet age, and audits from governments and the aviation industry’s regulatory bodies. editor-in-chief Geoffrey Thomas said the airlines that made the 2018 list were “standouts in the industry”, at the forefront of safety, innovation and launching of new aircraft.

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Here are the top 20 safest airlines for 2018, in alphabetical order:

Air New Zealand
Alaska Airlines
All Nippon Airways
British Airways
Cathay Pacific
Etihad Airways
Hawaiian Airlines
Japan Airlines
Royal Jordanian Airlines
Scandinavian Airline System
Singapore Airlines
Virgin Atlantic
Virgin Australia

Dubai-based airline Emirates is a new entrant on this year’s list, while US airlines Delta and United are notably absent.

In March 2017, United Airlines CEO Oscar Munoz expressed some strong opinions about Gulf airlines, including Emirates and Etihad, describing them as nothing more than “international branding vehicles for their countries”.

The following month, United experienced a PR disaster when a video of a man being forcibly removed from one of their flights went viral.

Emirates responded with a sassy video using United’s slogan – “fly the friendly skies” – but adding, “this time for real”.

ALSO READ: Emirates gets sassy towards United Airlines & it’s kind of amazing

Emirates and Etihad had a tough time in 2017 because of US president Donald Trump’s electronics ban, which prohibited US-bound passengers in eight Muslim-majority countries – including the UAE – from bringing large electronic devices into plane cabins.

Emirates was quick to snap up a clever marketing opportunity, showcasing its award-winning inflight entertainment system alongside the message: “Who needs tablets and laptops anyway?”

Etihad responded by offering free wi-fi and iPads to its business and first class passengers.

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