A Riverina woman has backed a charity airline following damning claims it has an accident rate seven times higher than other private airlines.
The report comes from the Australian Transport Safety Bureau, which is investigating the safety of Angel Flight compared to other private flying operations, after a second fatal accident in the past decade.
Dianne Butler, 59, lives in Hay and has used the Angel Flight Service more than 100 times.
Ms Butler had a double lung transplant in 2009. She was diagnosed with emphysema when she was just 42 years old.
After the operation, Ms Butler needed to be in Sydney every six weeks, sometimes even more than that, and now she still needs to go up every three months for check-ups.
"I am using the Angel Flight service every three months, and that's been like that for the last four years," she said.
"I must say that in all the flights, I have never once felt unsafe."
After her 96th flight, Ms Butler and her husband decided to calculate how much they have been able to save thanks to the charity.
Adding the cost of travel to Griffith, return flights to Sydney and taxi rides to the city, Angel Flight has enabled the couple to save more than $50,000 in travel expenses.
"I would be lost without the service," Ms Butler said.
"I have never felt unsafe and, to me, it's one of the best organisations that I have ever known."
The Australian Transport Safety Bureau has since released a statement after Angel Flight hit back at the report.
"The ATSB stands behind its investigation that found a different and elevated risk for community service flights operated on behalf of Angel Flight Australia, compared to other private operations and commercial air transport," it read.
Chief Commissioner Greg Hood said the department is continuing to monitor the charity's implementation of safety actions.
"Angel Flight Australia's statement issued on Tuesday afternoon in response to our investigation report raises a number of issues already addressed by the final report," he said.
"I would like to once again re-iterate that the ATSB is supportive of the community service flight sector, however, based upon the analysis conducted, it is essential that the controls for risk are strengthened to prevent further accidents.
"I stand by our report and the thorough and diligent investigation team who produced it."