"A sudden wake of airline crashes has moved the European Union to compilea list of 'blacklisted' airlines they believe travelers should avoid.But there are now a number of resources which track airline safety forconsumers. The most regarded list is compiled by the International Air Transport Association. Launched in 2001, the IATA's "Operational Safety Audit"currently lists 58 carriers that have met its test. Audits are validfor two years and after that an airline is re-examined. Examinations include sending out a team of six experts for a five-day period toinspect all aspects of operation - from mechanics to management andcargo to cabin. The airline is deemed to meet international standards after being given one year to correct any problems found. Not every one of the 250 worldwide airlines are involved in voluntary audits which makes ranking all airlines nearly impossible. The list will slowly grow as pressure is applied for more international standards. Consumers can consult the list at http://www.iata.org/iosa/registry"
(from Clark Howard's Travel e-Scapes
- 8 September)