2017 was one of the safest on record for the commercial aviation industry with only 19 fatalities, according to data released by the International Air Transport Association (IATA).
IATA said in its 2017 Airline Safety Performance report that the commercial airline industry showed showing “continued strong improvements in safety”.
Last year, IATA said there were six fatal accidents with 19 fatalities among passengers and crew, compared with an average of 10.8 fatal accidents and approximately 315 fatalities per year in the previous five-year period (2012-2016). In 2016 there were nine fatal accidents and 202 fatalities.
2018 has already been very different as there has been two fatal commercial aviation accidents. On 18 February, an Iran Aseman Airlines ATR 72-212 crashed killing 66 passengers and crew, and on 11 February a Saratov Airlines Antonov An-148 crashed near Moscow killing 71 passengers and crew.
In 2017, IATA said the all accident rate per one million flights was 1.08, better than the all accident rate of 1.68 in 2017 and the rate of 2.01 for the previous five-year period from 2012-16.
None of the six fatal accidents involved a passenger aircraft. Five involved turboprop aircraft and one involved a cargo aircraft. The crash of the cargo aircraft also resulted in the deaths of 35 persons on the ground, as well as the crew of the aircraft.
IATA represents some 280 airlines comprising 83 per cent of global air traffic and said its members’ carriers experienced zero fatal accidents, or hull losses in 2017 with aircraft or turboprop equipment.
IATA’s director general and chief executive officer, Alexandre de Juniac (pictured above) said: “2017 was a very good year for aviation safety. Some 4.1 billion travelers flew safely on 41.8 million flights. We saw improvements in nearly all key metrics – globally and in most regions.
“And our determination to make this very safe industry even safer continues. In 2017 there were incidents and accidents that we will learn from through the investigation process, just as we will learn from the recent tragedies in Russia and Iran.
“Complementing that knowledge are insights we can gain from the millions of flights that operate safety. Data from these operations is powering the development of predictive analytics that will eventually enable us to eliminate the conditions that can lead to accidents.
“The industry knows that every fatality is a tragedy. Our common goal is for every flight to take-off and land safely.”