Washington D.C. - Aviation accident statistics released last week by The National Transportation Safety Board show a decline in the scheduled U.S. airline accident rate in 2001.
In 2001 there were 36 accidents on U.S. scheduled airlines, including the 4 crashes of September 11. Because the crashes of September 11, 2001 were the results of criminal activity, those crashes are included in the totals for scheduled U.S. airline accidents and fatalities, but are not used for the purpose of accident rate computation. The remaining 32 accidents in 2001 result in an accident rate of .317 per 100,000 departures. These numbers represent a decrease from 2000, when 51 accidents were reported for a rate of .463 accidents per 100,000 departures.
The 531 fatalities associated with crashes involving U.S. scheduled airliners last year is the highest total since 1977, when two jumbo jets collided in the Canary Islands. Half of last year`s fatalities - 265 - occurred aboard the four hijacked airliners on September 11. Other than a ground worker who was struck by a propeller at an airport in August, the remaining fatalities (265) occurred when American Airlines flight 587 crashed in New York on November 12.
Accident rates for both scheduled and non-scheduled 14 CFR part 135 service decreased in 2001. The scheduled service rate decreased from 1.965 accidents per 100,000 departures in 2000 to 1.407 in 2001. For unscheduled, on-demand air taxis, the rate decreased from 2.28 to 2.12 per 100,000 flight hours. Table 9a reflects the effect of the FAA revision to activity estimates on accident rates for on-demand air taxis from 1992-2000.
Despite reporting fewer accidents in 2001, the accident rate for general aviation aircraft increased slightly from 6.33 accidents per 100,000 flight hours in 2000 to 6.56 accidents in 2001. General aviation was the only category of air transportation to report an increase in its accident rate, which is attributable to the fact that fewer hours were flown by general aviation aircraft in 2001 than in 2000.
Table 12 showing Air Carrier Occurrences Involving Illegal Acts has been added to the 2001 aviation statistics. The table outlines accidents caused by sabotage, suicide or terrorism from 1982-2001. As with 2001 statistics, accidents caused by illegal acts in previous years were not used when calculating the accident rate for that year.
Tables 1-12 providing additional statistics are available at http://www.ntsb.gov/aviation/Stats.htm.