A viral rumor after the Lion Air crash claims the airline already had the worst possible safety rating - but it isn't true

A viral rumor after the Lion Air crash claims the airline already had the worst possible safety rating - but it isn't true

Fake safety rating Lion Air

Twitter/Alvin Lie/Business Insider

The International Air Transport Association said that the low safety rating attributed to them was not real.

  • A hoax after the Lion Air crash that likely killed 189 people claimed that there were serious red flags about the airlines safety.
  • It said the International Air Transport Association (IATA) had given the airline the lowest possible safety rating.
  • A fake screenshot of the IATA's website said Lion Air had one star out of a possible seven.
  • But it isn't true - the IATA confirmed to Business Insider that it does not rank or rate individual airlines, and said "airline safety rankings are inherently flawed."

A viral post claims that Lion Air had been ranked with the lowest possible safety record, but is an untrue forgery which emerged in the wake of a fatal crash this week.

Lion Air flight JT 610 crashed into the sea on Monday and killed everyone on board. It has a history of occasional safety issues, but was widely considered safe to use before Monday's crash.

However, a faked screenshot purporting to be from the International Air Transport Association (IATA) website says otherwise.

It listed Lion Air among a number of other Indonesian airlines, claiming that they all have a one-star rating and the "lowest safety performance". The post has been spreading on social media, particularly in Indonesia itself.


But the IATA told Business Insider that the ranking was not from them, and that it does not even publish airline safety ratings.

An IATA spokesperson told Business Insider: "We would like to clarify that it is not an IATA document."

In a statement earlier this year, the IATA said that "does not consider airline safety ratings or rankings to be a valid measure of an individual organization's safety performance."

It also says that there "no objective criteria or metrics exist by which it is possible to do this" and questioned the validity of rankings produced elsewhere.

Read more: What we know about the victims of the Lion Air plane crash off Indonesia, where there were 'likely no survivors'


It says that "airline safety rankings are inherently flawed" and instead it considers the overall safety of the commercial airline industry.

Twitter user Alvin Lie drew attention to the hoax, sharing an image of the screenshot which lists the airlines as "non recommended." The tweet, which is in Indonesian, urged people to not spread hoaxes.

It also included a statement from the IATA's office in Indonesia that says the organization "has never made this kind of statements [sic] especially for public consumption."

Lion Air performs well in other airline safety rankings. It gets six out of seven stars by AirlineRatings.com, which considers things like its fatality record and whether the airline is endorsed by the US Federal Aviation Authority.


It is not clear whether this rating has been updated since Monday's crash.

But the safety record of Lion Air and of Indonesian airlines generally has come under increased scrutiny since the flight plunged into the Java sea en route from Jakarta to Bangka Island in what was the worst airliner accident of 2018.

Lion Air flight relatives debris


Families of passengers on the crashed Lion Air flight look at the belongings of passengers in Jakarta's Tanjung Priok port.

Lion Air previously had one fatal accident, in 2004, and has recorded at least a dozen since 2002, Quartz reported. A Lion Air flight also crashed into the sea in 2013, but all on board survived.

Read more: Divers found the black box from the Lion Air flight that crashed into the Java Sea


Indonesia's aviation record was so poor for years that the US and EU had blacklisted the country's carriers from flying into their countries. The bans have since been lifted. The EU only lifted its ban in June, though it allowed Lion Air to operate from an earlier date.