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Dramatic increase in 2018 airline fatalities offset by improvements in accident rates — IATA

/ 09:16 PM February 25, 2019

Image: Michal Krakowiak/Istock.com via AFP Relaxnews

After a bumper year for airline safety, 2018 saw the number of airline-related fatalities spike sharply with 11 accidents killing 523 passengers and crew, according to a new safety report.

In The International Air Transport Association’s 2018 Safety Performance report, analysts crunched the numbers to find the average rate of fatalities and airline incidents within the commercial aviation sector.

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But the aviation year 2018 had a tough act to follow. In 2017, the industry experienced six fatal accidents resulting in 19 fatalities, a record low given the millions of flights undertaken.

For perspective, last year 4.3 billion passengers flew on 46.1 million flights. Of that number, there were 11 fatal plane crashes and 523 fatalities.

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That compares to an average of 9 fatal accidents and 234 fatalities per year over the five-year period between 2013 to 2017.

Furthermore, IATA points out that the all-accident rate (measured in the number of accidents per one million flights) was 1.35, or equal to one accident for every 740,000 flights, an improvement over the average rate of 1.79 for the five-year period (2013 to 2017).

The rate of major jet accidents last year (measured in jet hull losses per 1 million flights) was 0.19, or one major accident for every 5.1 million flights, also marking an improvement of 0.29 over 2013-2017.

“2018 was not the extraordinary year that 2017 was,” said IATA director general Alexandre de Juniac. “However, flying is safe, and the data tell us that it is getting safer…Flying continues to be the safest form of long distance travel the world has ever known.

De Juniac points out, for example, that if airline safety statistics in 2018 remained at the same level seen in 2013, the world would have seen 18 fatal accidents instead of 11 last year.

“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,” he said. “We remain committed to the goal of having every flight take off and land safely.” JB

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TAGS: Accidents, airline fatalities, Aviation, IATA, Transportation
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