Commercial aviation enjoys safest year


Last year was the safest year in history for commercial airlines, according to separate reports from Dutch consultancy To70 and The Aviation Safety Network (ASN), with a total of 10 fatal airliner accidents recorded worldwide, a drop from 2016’s figure of 16 accidents.

There were also fewer casualties, with a total of 79 deaths, which is significantly lower than 2016’s figure of 303 lives lost. This is despite the fact that more flights are being made than ever before.

The most fatal crash of 2017 came at the beginning of the year, when a Turkish cargo plane crashed into a village in Kyrgyzstan, killing all four crew members and 35 people on the ground in January. The most onboard fatalities occurred on 31 December, when 12 passengers and crew were killed after a Nature Air single propeller Cessna 208 Caravan plane crashed in Costa Rica.

Five accidents involved cargo flights, five were passenger flights. Given the expected worldwide air traffic of about 36,800,000 flights, the accident rate is one fatal passenger flight accident per 7,360,000 flights, according to ASN.

The low number of accidents comes as no surprise, according to ASN president Harro Ranter: “Since 1997, the average number of airliner accidents has shown a steady and persistent decline, for a great deal thanks to the continuing safety-driven efforts by international aviation organisations such as ICAO, IATA, Flight Safety Foundation and the aviation industry.”

The figures do not take into account helicopter or military crashes.