The NY Times published an absolute crap article about the safety of low fare airlines in Asia over the weekend. The piece asks this question: "In a developing region witnessing a boom in the number of low-cost
airlines, can tourists trust their lives on these budget carriers?"
The answer, of course, is yes, they should trust their lives. Air Asia, Tiger Airways, Cebu Air and many others have flying records that are at least on par with US-based airlines. A small number of carriers have suffered incidents that suggest that their maintenance procedures are sub-par, but they are few-and-far between, and to suggest that the issue is with budget carriers (let alone all budget carriers) is sensational and simply untrue. The article notes that Garuda, Indonesia’s flag carrier, and Korean Air, neither of which are budget carriers, have been formally reprimanded for their flight safety (Korean has since cleaned up its act). This is an airline-specific issue, not a budget carrier issue.
And as you’re asking yourself whether its safe to fly these airlines, remember that you are in far more peril once you’re on the ground in southeast Asia than you are in the air — Vietnam had more than 12,000 traffic deaths in 2005. Don’t believe everything you read.