The total number of aviation accidents and associated fatalities in scheduled commercial aircraft operations, as well as the worldwide accident rate, increased in 2018 from historic lows recorded in 2017, according to a new report by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).
The State of Global Aviation Safety, released last week, discussed data for scheduled commercial operations of aircraft with a certified maximum takeoff rate of at least 5,700 kg (12,566 lb).
The report said that ICAO member states reported 98 accidents involving these operations in 2018, up 11 percent from the 88 accidents reported the previous year. The accident rate rose to 2.6 per million departures, up 8 percent from the 2.4 per million in 2017.
The report said the number of fatal accidents increased from five, with 50 fatalities, in 2017, to 11, with 514 fatalities in 2018.
In an effort to reduce future accidents, the report said, ICAO is focusing on three high-risk categories — runway safety accidents, controlled flight into terrain and loss of control–in flight — which represented 96 percent of all fatalities in 2018, 73 percent of fatal accidents and 54 percent of the total number of accidents.
Among the developing accident-prevention initiatives, the report said, is ICAO’s effort to implement a global reporting format (GRF) for runway surface conditions, an initiative designed to mitigate the risk of runway excursions.
“Runway safety–related accidents and incidents are aviation’s number one safety-related risk category, with 59 reported accidents in 2016, of which more than half were due to runway excursions,” the report said. “One of the main contributing factors is adverse weather that results in the runway surface being contaminated by snow, ice, slush or water, with a potentially negative impact on an aircraft’s braking, acceleration or controllability.”
The report said that the GRF, which will be globally applicable beginning in November 2020, is designed to provide a means for airport operators to assess runway surface conditions and assign a runway condition code to inform pilots if runway contaminants are present.