Downward trends persisted in commercial aviation accidents in 2017, with an all-accident rate of 1.08 per million flights and a “fatality risk” of 0.09, meaning that a passenger would have to take one flight every day for 6,033 years before experiencing a fatal accident, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) says.
IATA safety data, made public Thursday, showed that the accident rate for commercial airline operations fell from 1.68 in 2016. It was slightly more than half the rate of 2.01 per million flights for the five-year period from 2012 through 2016.
Nineteen passengers and crewmembers were killed in six fatal commercial airline accidents in 2017, down from the previous year’s totals of nine fatal accidents and 202 fatalities and the five-year average of 10.8 accidents and 315 fatalities per year. None of the six fatal accidents in 2017 involved a passenger jet. Five fatal accidents involved turboprop airplanes and one involved a cargo jet
The data showed improvements “in nearly all key metrics — globally and in most regions,” IATA Director General and CEO Alexandre de Juniac said.
The rate for major jet accidents in 2017 was 0.11 per million flights, or the equivalent of one major accident every 8.7 million flights, well below the 2016 rate of 0.39 per million flights and the five-year average of 0.33.
Half of the world’s regions recorded no jet hull losses in 2017, including Africa, which had a hull loss rate in 2012–2016 of 2.21 per million departures.
IATA defines a hull loss as “an accident in which the aircraft is destroyed or substantially damaged and is not subsequently repaired for whatever reason, including a financial decision of the owner.”
The three other regions without jet hull losses were the Middle East and North Africa, down from 0.53 per million departures in 2012–2016; North America, down from 0.22 per million departures in 2012–2016; and North Asia, which had a rate of zero jet hull losses in 2012–2016.
“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,” de Juniac said, referring to the fatal 2018 crashes of passenger airplanes in those countries. “Complementing that knowledge are insights we can gain from the millions of flights that operate safely. 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.”