Perth-based AirlineRatings.com ranks Air New Zealand among the top 20 airlines among the 409 airlines it monitors.

It has also named its bottom-ranked carriers for safety for the past year.

They were; Air Koryo, Bluewing Airlines, Buddha Air, Nepal Airlines, Tara Air, Trigana Air Service and Yeti Airlines.

The Top 20 (in alphabetical order)

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• Air New Zealand
• Alaska Airlines
• All Nippon Airways
• British Airways
• Cathay Pacific Airways
• Emirates
•Etihad Airways
• EVA Air
• Finnair
• Hawaiian Airlines
• Japan Airlines
• KLM
• Lufthansa
• Qantas
•Royal Jordanian Airlines
• Scandinavian Airline System
•Singapore Airlines
• Swiss
• Virgin Atlantic
•Virgin Australia.

AirlineRatings.com editor-in-chief Geoffrey Thomas said these airlines are standouts in the industry and are at the forefront of safety, innovation, and launching of new aircraft.

"For instance, Australia's Qantas has been recognized by the British Advertising Standards Association in a test case as the world's most experienced airline."

Qantas had been the lead airline in virtually every major operational safety advancement over the past 60 years and has not had a fatality in the jet era, said Thomas.

But Qantas was not alone. Long established airlines such as Hawaiian and Finnair have perfect records in the jet era.

AirlineRatings.com editors also identified their Top 10 safest low-cost airlines.

These are in alphabetical order: Aer Lingus, Flybe, Frontier, HK Express, Jetblue, Jetstar Australia, Thomas Cook, Virgin America, Vueling, and Westjet.

Unlike a number of low-cost carriers, these airlines have all passed the stringent International Air Transport Association Operational Safety Audit (IOSA) and have excellent safety records.

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To arrive at its Top 20 AirlineRatings.com takes into account the most important factors for safety. These include: audits from aviation's governing bodies and lead associations; government audits; airline's crash and serious incident record and the fleet age.

Thomas said the site only looks at serious incidents in making its determinations.

All airlines have incidents every day and many are aircraft manufacture issues, not airline operational problems.

''And it is the way the flight crew handles incidents that determines a good airline from an unsafe one. So just lumping all incidents together is very misleading,'' he said.