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Air accident fatality rate down 56pc in 2008

New York, February 21, 2009

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) recently announced the aviation safety performance for 2008, revealing a drop in the total number of fatalities resulting from accidents.

The report said that aviation related fatalities dropped from 692 in 2007 to 502 in 2008, resulting in a 56 per cent improvement in the fatality rate from 0.23 fatalities per million passengers to 0.13 per million passengers.

The global accident rate (measured in hull losses per million flights of Western-built jet aircraft) stood at 0.81 - or one accident for every 1.2 million flights. This is a slight deterioration on 2007 performance when the accident rate was 0.75 - or one accident for every 1.3 million flights.

However, the number of accidents rose to 109 in 2008 from 100 in 2007. The number of fatal accidents increased from 20 in 2007 to 23 in 2008.

IATA member airlines significantly outperformed the industry in safety. With 33 accidents, IATA members drove their accident rate downwards from 0.68 in 2007 to 0.52 in 2008. That is equal to one accident for every 1.9 million flights.

“Safety is the industry’s number one priority. Today’s statistics confirm that travelling by air is one the safest things that a person can do,” said Giovanni Bisignani, director general and CEO of IATA.

“IATA is a quality association. And the mark of that quality is safety. While we will be strict in upholding the IOSA standards, which are recognised by governments around the world, our goal is to raise the bar on safety with a transparent global standard and bring all of our members on board,” he added.

The IATA Operational Safety Audit (IOSA) is the global industry standard for airline safety management. As of January 1, IOSA is a condition of IATA membership. Currently, 204 member airlines are among the 282 carriers on the IOSA registry. A further 21 IATA member airlines are undergoing quality control checks. Airlines that have not passed the quality control process by March 31 will have their memberships terminated.

There are significant regional differences in the accident rate.

North Asia had a perfect record of zero hull losses in 2008. North America (0.58), Europe (0.42) and Asia / Pacific (0.58) all performed better than the global average.


Africa had an accident rate that was 2.6 times worse than the world average (2.12). However, this extends a year-on-year trend of significant improvements. In 2005, for example, the Africa rate was the worst in the world at 9.21. There was one Western-built jet hull loss with an African carrier in 2008.

The Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) had the worst accident rate in the world at 6.43 (7.9 times worse than the global average). The relatively small fleet of Western-built jet aircraft operated in the region means that even a few accidents can skew the numbers considerably. In 2005 and 2007 there were no accidents in the region. In 2006 two accidents drove the hull loss rate to 8.6.  Last year there were three Western-built hull losses with CIS carriers.

Latin America and the Caribbean had a hull loss rate of 2.55 (3.1 times worse than the global average). The region’s carriers had five hull losses during 2008. Addressing infrastructure issues remains a top priority.

Middle East and North Africa saw its accident rate worsen to 1.89 in 2008 with two accidents involving carriers from the region.

Three issues emerged in 2008:

i. Runway excursions accounted for 25 per cent of all accidents in 2008. IATA will launch a Runway Safety Toolkit in 2009, which it has developed with Flight Safety Foundation. The toolkit will also be incorporated with IATA’s broad ranging safety data tools in the IATA Global Safety Information Centre to be launched later this year.

ii. Ground damage accounted for 17 per cent of all accidents in 2008. To improve safety and combat this U


Tags: Iata | New York | Safety | aviation | Accidents | fatalities |

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