Report: Global Aviation Safety Improving

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For the world's scheduled airlines, 2015 "was an extraordinarily safe year," according to an analysis issued today by the International Air Transport Association, based in Montreal. However, the world was "shocked and horrified" by two deliberate acts that caused the loss of two airplanes and all 374 on board — Germanwings 9525 and Metrojet 9268. Besides those two flights, which were not counted as accidents, there were no passenger fatalities on jet transports. Turboprop flights had a less perfect record, with four accidents resulting in 136 deaths. "The long-term trend data show us that flying is getting even safer," said Tony Tyler, CEO of IATA. He added that while there are "no easy solutions to the mental health and security issues" blamed for the two jet losses, "aviation continues to work to minimize the risk that such events will happen again."

Last year's overall record actually was a little worse than the year before — measured in hull losses per 1 million flights, the 2015 accident rate was 0.32, the equivalent of one major accident for every 3.1 million flights, while the rate in 2014 was 0.27. But the previous five-year average (2010-14) was 0.46, and compared to that, the rate for 2015 shows a 30 percent improvement. Overall, more than 3.5 billion people flew on 37.6 million scheduled flights last year. Most of those flights, 31.4 million, were on jets, with just 6.2 million on turboprops. Broken down by region, every region except North America showed improvement compared to the prior five-year rate. In North America the rate was 0.32 compared to 0.13 for the prior five years.