Airline Safety Record Improved In 2015


image: ASN

In 2015, 560 people were killed in 16 commercial aviation accidents worldwide, the Aviation Safety Network reported this week. Overall, it was the lowest number of fatal crashes ever, and it was the fifth-safest year for fatalities, according to ASN. The five worst crashes all had “at least a contributing cause ofhuman factors,” according to an analysis by Jacdec, a German research firm. In March, a pilot deliberately crashed an Airbus A320 in the French Alps, killing all 150 on board, and a terrorist bomb is the suspected cause in the crash of a Russian jet carrying 224 people in October. The other worst commercial aircraft crashes in 2015 were an ATR-42 in Indonesia, killing 54; an ATR-72 in Taiwan, with a death toll of 43; and the loss of an Antonov An-12 in the Sudan, killing 25.

The year showed dramatic improvement from 970 deaths in the “disastrous previous year,” when two widebody jets crashed with the loss of all on board, said Jacdec. Over the long term, analysis shows a shift away from technical causes and toward the human factor, Jacdec said. Given the estimated worldwide air traffic of 34 million airline flights in 2015, the accident rate was 1 fatal accident per 4.857 million flights, according to ASN. “Since 1997 the average number of airliner accidents has shown a steady and persistent decline,” said ASN, “for a great deal thanks to the continuing safety-driven efforts by international aviation organizations such as ICAO, IATA, Flight Safety Foundation, and the aviation industry.”

Note: Image shows accidents, in blue, and 10-year average, in red, from 1940 to 2015.