Flying ‘getting safer’ as airline safety performance released

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Latest IATA statistics show accident rate in 2018 lower than previous five-year period.

Safety performance

Flying as a mode transport is safer than it has ever been, the International Air Transport Association's (IATA) Director General and CEO has said.

Despite an increase in accidents compared with 2017, which was an extraordinary year by industry standards, the latest IATA statistics show continued long-term safety improvements in the commercial aviation industry.

Acknowledging the record year previous, in a statement de Juniac moved to reassure that the safety and security of air transport is on the increase in overall terms.

2018 was not the extraordinary year that 2017 was. However, flying is safe, and the data tell us that it is getting safer

“Last year some 4.3 billion passengers flew safely on 46.1 million flights,” he said. 

“2018 was not the extraordinary year that 2017 was. However, flying is safe, and the data tell us that it is getting safer. 

“For example, if safety in 2018 had remained at the same level as 2013, there would have been 109 accidents instead of 62; and there would have been 18 fatal accidents, instead of the 11 that actually occurred.”

The 2018 Airline Safety Performance registered the all accident rate (measured in accidents per 1 million flights) at 1.35, equal to one accident for every 740,000 flights. 

Although this was an improvement over the all accident rate of 1.79 for the previous five-year period (2013-2017), it was a decline compared to 2017’s record performance of 1.11.

Major jet accidents, measured in jet hull losses per 1 million flights, was registered at 0.19, an increase on 0.12 in 2017. However, this was an improvement of the previous five-year period of 0.29.

The industry suffered 523 passenger or crew deaths as a result of 11 fatal accidents in 2018, compared to an average of 8.8 fatal accidents and 234 fatalities in the preceding five-year period, and a record low of just six accidents causing 19 passenger/crew deaths in 2017.

In reaffirming his realistic view of the figures, de Juniac said flying continues to be an extremely safe form of travel and pointed out that on average, a passenger could take a flight every day for 241 years before experiencing an accident with a fatality on board.

In conclusion, he said: “Flying continues to be the safest form of long distance travel the world has ever known. We remain committed to the goal of having every flight takeoff and land safely.”

  • For more information on the latest safety figures, click here