In brief: The European-based Air Transport Rating Agency (ATRA) has released its list of the world's 10 safest airlines – and, perhaps controversially, there's not a single local name among them.
Qantas, Virgin Australia, Jetstar and Air New Zealand all failed to make the Top Ten in ATRA's 'Holistic Safety Rating 2011' report, in which the private company – which specialises in "aviation risk assessment and advanced data analyses in the aviation sector" – ranks the world's airlines based on 15 publicly-available criteria (it should also be noted that this data is from 2009).
These include the total number of passengers, cabin crew employees; the average age of the airline's fleet, total aircraft/kilometres flown, number of accidents during the last ten years, dedicated flight academy pilot-training facilities and dedicated full flight simulators.
No airlines from Australia, New Zealand, the Middle East or Asia are in the top ten, with the sole exception of japan Airlines.
North America dominates the Top 10 ladder with six carriers: American, Continental, Delta, Southwest, United and US Airways.
Air France-KLM, British Airways and Lufthansa were judged the safest airlines in Europe.