The number of deaths from aircraft accidents was almost halved last year to 210, new official data shows.
The decline from 414 fatalities in 2012 is likely to rise again this year following the loss of the Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 which was carrying 239 passengers and crew.
Iata’s 2013 commercial aviation safety performance figures show that there was the equivalent of one accident for every 2.4 million flights.
There were 81 accidents, up from 75 in 2012, including 16 which were fatal.
However, more than three billion people flew safely on 36.4 million flights – 29.5 million by jet, 6.9 million by turboprop.
Iata director general and chief excutive Tony Tyler (pictured) said: “Safety is our highest priority. The aviation industry is united in its commitment to ensure continuous safety improvement. Importantly, that commitment has made flying ever safer.
“Accidents, however rare, do happen. We release this data as the world continues to focus on the search effort for MH370. The airline industry, its stakeholders and regulators are in the beginning of the journey to unravel this mystery, understand the cause and find ways to ensure that it never happens again.”
Runway excursions, in which an aircraft departs a runway during landing or take-off, are the most common type of accident, accounting for 23% of all accidents over the past five years.
“Survivability of such accidents is high, representing less than 8% of fatalities over the previous five years. Improving runway safety is a key focus of the industry’s strategy to reduce operational risk,” Iata said.
Africa saw significant progress in safety last year with only one western-built jet hull loss, while the region’s accident rate for all aircraft types improved nearly 50% to 7.45 accidents per million flights from 14.80 in 2012.
But Tyler said: “Africa’s overall rate is still many times worse than global levels, so there is plenty of work to do. We cannot take the recent improvement trend for granted.
“To make these gains a sustainable foundation on which to achieve world-class safety levels is going to require the continued determination and commitment of all stakeholders, including governments.”
Sourced from Travel Weekly