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Aircraft Accident Rate is Lowest in History

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has announced the aviation safety performance for 2010, which shows that the year’s accident rate for Western-built jet aircraft is the lowest in aviation history.

The 2010 global accident rate (measured in hull losses per million flights of Western-built jet aircraft) was 0.61 - which is equal to one accident for every 1.6 million flights. This is a significant improvement on the 0.71 rate recorded in 2009 (one accident for 1.4 million flights). The 2010 rate was the lowest in aviation history, just below the 2006 rate of 0.65. Compared to 10 years ago, the accident rate has been cut 42% from the rate recorded in 2001. A hull loss is an accident in which the aircraft is destroyed or substantially damaged and is not subsequently repaired.

“Safety is the number one priority. Achieving the lowest accident rate in the history of aviation shows that this commitment is bearing results. Flying is safe. But every fatality is a human tragedy that reminds us of the ultimate goal of zero accidents and zero fatalities. We must remain focused and determined to move closer to this goal year by year,” said Giovanni Bisignani, IATA’s Director General and CEO.

In absolute numbers, 2010 saw the following results:

  • 2.4 billion people flew safely on 36.8 million flights (28.4 million jet, 8.4 million turboprop)
  • 17 hull loss accidents involving Western-built jet aircraft compared to 19 in 2009
  • 94 accidents (all aircraft types, Eastern and Western built) compared to 90 in 2009
  • 23 fatal accidents (all aircraft types) compared to 18 in 2009
  • 786 fatalities compared to 685 in 2009

There were significant regional differences in the Western built jet hull loss accident rate:

  • North America (0.10), Europe (0.45), North Asia (0.34) and the Commonwealth of Independent States (0.0) performed better than the global average of 0.61
  • Asia-Pacific was higher than the global average at 0.80 in 2010 and about the same from the previous year (0.86)
  • The Middle East and North Africa region saw its accident rate fall significantly to 0.72 (compared to 3.32 in 2009) with only one accident involving a carrier from the region
  • Latin America & the Caribbean reported a higher accident rate of 1.87 with four airlines from the region involved in accidents, compared with a zero accident rate in 2009
  • Africa had an accident rate of 7.41, which was lower than the 2009 rate of 9.94. While showing improvement, Africa once again has the worst rate in the world.  There were four Western-built jet hull losses with African carriers in 2010. African carriers are 2% of global traffic, but 23% of global Western-built jet hull losses.

View  PDF of the 2010 Aviation Safety Performance