IATA record-breaking year of safety for global air transport

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) reports 2023 to be one of the safest years for airline operations, with several parameters showing their best ever safety results.

IATA confirms that there were no hull loses of fatal accidents involving passenger jet aircraft in 2023, although there was a single fatal accident in January 2023 when a Yeti Airlines ATR-72 turboprop crashed shortly after departure from Pokhara Airport in Nepal, resulting in 72 fatalities.

There were 37 million airline movements in 2023 (jet and turboprop combined) – an increase of 17% on the previous year – and the accident rate was 0.8 per million sectors in 2023 (or one accident for every 1.26 million flights). This accident rate is an improvement from 1.3 in 2022 and the lowest rate in over a decade, IATA confirmed.

The fatality risk improved to 0.03 in 2023 from 0.11 in 2022. At this rate, IATA says that a person would have to travel by air every day for 103,239 years to experience a fatal accident. “2023 safety performance continues to demonstrate that flying is the safest mode of transport. Aviation places its highest priority on safety and that shows in the 2023 performance. Jet operations saw no hull losses or fatalities. 2023 also saw the lowest fatality risk and ‘all accident’ rate on record.

A single fatal turboprop accident with 72 fatalities, however, reminds us that we can never take safety for granted. And two high profile accidents in the first month of 2024 show that, even if flying is among the safest activities a person can do, there is always room to improve. This is what we have done throughout our history. And we will continue to make flying ever safer,” said Willie Walsh, IATA’s director general.

Looking at regional safety performance, IATA reports that the 2023 all accident rate improved compared to 2022 for all regions with the exceptions of North America and Asia Pacific. No regions experienced a jet hull loss in 2023 and only one region, Asia-Pacific, recorded a fatal turboprop hull loss – the Yeti Airlines  loss-of-control accident – making it the only region not to record a fatality risk of zero in 2023. 

The latest safety results come out after IATA reported a rise in unruly passenger events during 2023. 

North America

The all accident rate rose from 0.53 per million sectors in 2022 to 1.14 in 2023, but remained better than its five-year average for the region of 1.21. IATA adds that the largest proportion of accidents in 2023 were related to landing gear collapses.

Asia-Pacific

The all accident rate increased from 0.56 per million sectors in 2022 to 0.78 in 2023, but was better than the five-year average for the region of 1.06. The fatality risk rate per million sectors rose for Asia-Pacific operators from 0.00 in 2022 to 0.16, owing to the fatal accident in Nepal in January 2023.

Africa

The all accident rate improved from 10.88 per million sectors in 2022 to 6.38 in 2023, better than the five year average of 7.11. In 2023, there were no fatalities, with IATA adding the this region has had no jet hull losses or fatal accidents since 2020. Additionally, 2023 marked the fifth occurrence of Africa reporting zero fatal turboprop accidents, with the first instance recorded in 2015.

Middle East and North Africa

The all accident rate improved from 1.30 accidents per million sectors in 2022 to 1.16 in 2023. It remained slightly higher than the five-year average of 0.96. While no accidents were related to Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) interference, IATA adds that it has emerged as a critical area of concern in the region.

Commonwealth of Independent States

The all accident rate improved from 2.16 accidents per million sectors in 2022 to 1.09 in 2023. This rate is better than the region’s five-year average of 3.19 accidents per million sectors. IATA caveated these stats with a note that CIS sectors may undergo larger revisions than normal once actual flown sectors become available, which will affect accident rate as well as fatality risk calculation.

Europe

The all accident rate improved from 0.98 per million sectors in 2022 down to 0.48 accidents in 2023. This rate is better than the region’s five-year average of 0.77 accidents per million sectors. IATA confirmed that Europe has had a fatality risk of zero since 2018 and that the largest proportion of accidents were related to landing gear collapses, mirroring accident statistics in North America.

North Asia

The all accident rate improved from 0.45 accidents per million sectors in 2022 to 0.00 in 2023. This was better than the region’s five-year average of 0.16 accidents per million sectors. The fatality risk rate improved from 0.23 in 2022 to 0.00 in 2023.

Latin America and Caribbean

In 2023, the region reversed an increase in accidents from the previous year. The all accident rate per million sectors improved from 4.47 in 2022 to 0.37 in 2023, better than the five-year average of 1.91.

Image accredited to @RobHall18

Author: FTN Editor

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