Despite regional short falls in Africa and the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), the 2011 accident rate for Western-built jets was the lowest in aviation history, surpassing the previous mark set in 2010, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) reports.
The 2011 global accident rate (measured in hull losses per million flights of Western-built jets) was 0.37, the equivalent of one accident every 2.7 million flights. This represented a 39 percent improvement compared to 2010, when the accident rate was 0.61, or one accident for every 1.6 million flights. A hull loss is an accident in which the aircraft is destroyed or substantially damaged and not subsequently repaired for whatever reason including a financial decision by the owner.
“Safety is the air transport industry’s number one priority. It is also a team effort. The entire stakeholder community—airlines, airports, air navigation service providers and safety regulators--works together every day to make the skies safer based on global standards. As a result, flying is one of the safest things that a person could do. But, every accident is one too many, and each fatality is a human tragedy. The ultimate goal of zero accidents keeps everyone involved in aviation focused on building an ever safer industry,” said Tony Tyler, IATA’s director general and CEO. IATA attributed short falls in Africa's and the CIS's record largely due to infrastructure problems.
IATA reports 2.8 billion people flew safely on 38 million flights (30 million by jet, 8 million by turboprop); there were 11 hull loss accidents involving Western-built jets compared to 17 in 2010; 92 total accidents (all aircraft types, Eastern and Western built) down from 94 in 2010; 5 fatal hull loss accidents involving Western-built jets down from 8 in 2010; 22 fatal accidents (all aircraft types) versus 23 in 2010 and 486 fatalities compared to 786 in 2010.
IATA member airlines outperformed the industry average for accidents of all aircraft types by 23 percent (1.84 accidents per million flights compared to 2.40).