IATA reports continued long-term improvement in airline safety

The International Air Transport Association has released data for the 2018 safety performance of the commercial airline industry showing continuing safety improvements over the long term, but an increase in accidents compared to 2017.

The all accident rate (measured in accidents per one million flights) was 1.35, which was the equivalent of one accident for every 740,000 flights.

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

The 2018 rate for major jet accidents (measured in jet hull losses per one million flights) was 0.19, which was the equivalent of one major accident for every 5.4 million flights.

This was again an improvement over the rate for the previous five-year period of 0.29 but not as good as the rate of 0.12 in 2017.

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There were 11 fatal accidents with 523 fatalities among passengers and crew in 2018.

This compares with an average of 8.8 fatal accidents and approximately 234 fatalities per year in the previous five-year period.

In 2017, the industry experienced six fatal accidents with 19 fatalities, which was a record low.

Though, one accident in 2017 also resulted in the deaths of 35 persons on the ground.

“Last year some 4.3 billion passengers flew safely on 46.1 million flights.

“Last year 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,” said Alexandre de Juniac, IATA director general.

“Flying continues to be the safest form of long distance travel the world has ever known.

“Based on the data, on average, a passenger could take a flight every day for 241 years before experiencing an accident with one fatality on board.”