Portuguese flag carrier TAP has dropped three places, from fourth to seventh position, in the world airline safety ranking.
However, the Portuguese airline is still among the 10 safest airlines in the world, according to a report from the Jet Airliner Crash Data Evaluation Center (JACDEC).
In top position was Finnish airline Finnair, with the last accident recorded in 1963 killing 22 passengers.
Air New Zealand ranked second and Cathay Pacific from Hong Kong was in third position. British Airways was listed 10th in the ranking, moving up 10 places on 2011’s report by JACDEC.
TAP was pushed down the list by two airline companies in the United Arab Emirates, Emirates and Etihad Airways, and one from Taiwan, Eva Air.
However, TAP continues to be one of the few airline companies that has not recorded a plane crash in over 30 years and, according to the JACDEC report, the reason why it dropped three places in the ranking had to do with the airline fleet age, which is above the average age of other fleets. TAP has plans to renew its fleet of aircraft by 2015. Emirates, Etihad and Eva Air have all acquired new aircraft recently.
The last accident involving a TAP plane took place on November 11 1977 and killed 131 people.
A Boeing 727-200 crashed into the sea after an attempt to land at Funchal Airport, on Madeira Island, under inclement weather. The aircraft had failed to land on the old landing strip (which was shorter) under heavy rain and windy conditions, and was unable to take off again, crashing into the sea.
Low cost airlines in Europe also ranked well, with Virgin Atlantic in 15th place, Easyjet in 17th and Air Berlin in 23rd. European flag carrier companies were placed further down the list – KLM (Holland) in 27th, Air France in 41st and Spain’s Iberia in 47th.
At the bottom of the list were Brazilian companies TAM and GOL, ranking 59th and 57th respectively.
Three years ago, a TAM plane crashed killing 199 people. It was described as the worst accident in the airline’s history.
In last place, China Airlines (Taiwan) had the poorest safety record, with eight plane crashes since 1983 killing a total of 755 people.
The report also highlights 2012 as the year registering the least plane accidents since records began in 1983, resulting in 500 fewer deaths on 2011.