Is Qatar Airways Safe? (Yes, It Is.)

Qatar Airways has a very good safety record. In its 28 years of operation, it has never had a fatal crash. Excluding events such as turbulence, there have been a few Qatar Airways accidents, but none of these resulted in injuries.

I’ve flown Qatar Airways between the UK and Asia quite a few times, and I’ve never felt any concerns about safety. In general, Qatar Airways is considered to be a safe airline to fly with.

Below I’ll explain why. Hopefully, I’ll provide sufficient information for you to also reach the same conclusion.

Is Qatar Airways Safe?

Qatar Airways Operates a Modern Fleet

Qatar Airways has a large mixed fleet of Boeing and Airbus aircraft, primarily comprising the Airbus A319, A320, A321, A330, A350, and A380, and Boeing 777, and 787 (Dreamliner).

According to the average weighted age of the Qatar Airways fleet is 7.5 years. By weighted I mean that has looked at the average age and the number of each aircraft type and has calculated the total average fleet age based on this data.

The average Qatar Airways aircraft ages by aircraft type are shown in the table below.

We can see that there is quite a range of ages across the different aircraft types, with Qatar Airways’ A319s being the oldest type, with an average of 18.6 years. However, there are only two remaining A319s in Qatar Airways’ fleet, and both are understood to be parked currently. Qatar Airways’ youngest aircraft types are its A350s and A380s. 

Aircraft Number of Aircraft Average Age
Airbus A319 2 18.6
Airbus A320 29 9.6
Airbus A321 2 11.4
A330 17 14.0
Airbus A350 53 4.0
Airbus A380 4 4.9
Boeing 777 85 7.7
Boeing 787 37 6.6
Total 231 7.5

With an average fleet age of 7.5 years, Qatar Airways is operating a young fleet, and this compares very well to its rival Emirates and other major full-service carriers.

For example, Lufthansa’s average fleet age is 10.5 years, United Airlines’ is 16.5 years, British Airways’ is 12.9 years and Air France’s is 14.3 years.

Qatar Airways Boeing 777-300ER

Qatar Airways Is IOSA-Certified and a Member of the oneworld Alliance

Qatar Airways has the highest possible, seven-star safety rating by; this rating is based on the following:

  • Qatar Airways is IOSA (IATA Operational Safety Audit) certified. This audit is optional and assesses whether an airline has the necessary systems and processes in place to operate safely. Airlines are evaluated every two years.
  • Qatar Airways is not blacklisted in the European Union or the United States.
  • Qatar performs favorably in ICAO Country Audits which assess a nation’s approach to airline safety oversight and regulation. Qatar Airways is safety regulated by the Qatar Civil Aviation Authority (QCAA), and the QCAA’s IATA Safety Audit results are very good with effective implementation in the range of 75-100% for the eight areas audited, well above the global average for all areas.
  • Qatar Airways has not suffered any fatal accidents within the last 10 years. In fact, Qatar Airways has never had a fatal accident in its 28-year flying history.

In a ranking by the Jet Airliner Crash Data Evaluation Center (JACDEC) in 2021, Qatar Airways was ranked number 33 in an assessment of 100 global airlines, with a risk index of 89.11%. This risk index was calculated by looking at around 30 different airline safety parameters. The range of scores for the 100 airlines measures was 94.75% for the first placed airline – Emirates, and 55.11% for the 100th placed airline – Lion Air.

In addition to the above, Qatar Airways is a member of the oneworld alliance, one of the world’s three major airline alliances. Whilst membership of a major airline alliance is not a safety certification per se, it’s still a significant stamp of approval for the airline’s approach to safety and operations.

Other oneworld member airlines include British Airways, Cathay Pacific, American Airlines, Finnair, Iberia, Japan Airlines, Qantas, and Malaysia Airlines.

Qatar Airways Oneworld A350

Qatar Airways Incidents and Accidents

Similar to many large airlines that have had a long operational history and that operate a large fleet, Qatar Airways’ safety record is not spotlessly clean.

My research for incidents involving Qatar Airways aircraft didn’t show many results. There are a number of incidents recorded, such as bird strikes, ground strikes, lightning strikes, turbulence, technical issues, and engine problems. And, only a few days before I wrote this article Qatar Airways made the news when one of its aircraft, a 777F, struck an airfield lighting mast and caused substantial wing damage.

However, I could only find three incidents (excluding severe turbulence events involving crew or passenger injuries) that are classified as ‘accidents, as shown in the table below. Two of these accidents involved aircraft on the ground undergoing maintenance, and therefore were carrying no passengers. 

Date Aircraft Location Commentary
April 2007 A300 Abu Dhabi International Airport The aircraft caught fire during maintenance and was damaged beyond economic repair. There were no injuries.
September 2015 777 Miami International Airport The aircraft overran the runway on take-off and struck runway lights causing damage to the aircraft. There were no injuries
December 2017 A321 Doha International Airport The aircraft caught fire during maintenance and was damaged beyond economic repair. There were no injuries.

Qatar Airways 787

Summary: Is Flying with Qatar Airways Safe?

Yes, it is, and while it has had some incidents over its 28-year history, there have been no fatal accidents within this period.

Qatar Airways operates with safety protocols and procedures that are endorsed by its IATA IOSA certification. Qatar Airways was the first airline to achieve a 100% compliance IOSA audit. Qatar Airways is also overseen by the Qatari CAA which scores above the global average in ICAO’s Country Audits.

Qatar Airways is one of the world’s leading airlines, transporting tens of millions of passengers each year safely.

Based on these observations and this research, I think it’s fair to say Qatar Airways is a safe airline to fly with.

If you are wondering what flying with Qatar Airways is like, check our reviews:

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