IATA has reported that in 2008 the total number of
fatalities from aviation accidents dropped from 692 in 2007 to 502 in
2008. This resulted in a 56% improvement in the fatality rate from 0.23
fatalities per million passengers to 0.13 per million passengers.
The global accident rate (measured in hull
losses per million flights of western-built jet aircraft) stood at
0.81 - or one accident for every 1.2 million flights. This is a
slight deterioration on 2007 performance when the accident rate
was 0.75 - or one accident for every 1.3 million flights.
There were 109 accidents in 2008 compared to 100 in 2007. The
number of fatal accidents increased from 20 in 2007 to 23 in 2008.
IATA member airlines significantly outperformed the
industry in safety. With 33 accidents, IATA members drove their
accident rate downwards from 0.68 in 2007 to 0.52 in 2008. That is
equal to one accident for every 1.9 million flights.
The IATA Operational Safety Audit (IOSA) is the
global industry standard for airline safety management. As of 1
January 2009, IOSA is a condition of IATA membership. Currently,
204 member airlines are among the 282 carriers on the IOSA
registry. A further 21 IATA member
airlines are undergoing quality control checks. Airlines that have
not passed the quality control process by 31 March 2009 will have
their memberships terminated.
“IATA is a quality
association. And the mark of that quality is safety. While we will
be strict in upholding the IOSA standards, which are recognised by
governments around the world, our goal is to raise the
bar on safety with a transparent global standard and
bring all of our members on board,” said Giovanni
Bisignani, Director General and CEO of IATA.
There are significant
regional differences in the accident rate.
North Asia had
a perfect record of zero hull losses in 2008. North America
(0.58), Europe (0.42) and Asia / Pacific (0.58) all performed
better than the global average.
Africa had an accident
rate that was 2.6 times worse than the world average (2.12).
However, this extends a year-on-year trend of significant
improvements. In 2005, for example, the Africa rate was the worst
in the world at 9.21. There was one western-built jet hull loss
with an African carrier in 2008.
The Commonwealth of
Independent States (CIS) had the worst accident rate in the world
at 6.43 (7.9 times worse than the global average). The relatively
small fleet of western-built jet aircraft operated in the region
means that even a few accidents can skew the numbers considerably.
In 2005 and 2007 there were no accidents in the region. In 2006
two accidents drove the hull loss rate to 8.6. Last year there
were three western-built hull losses with CIS carriers.
Latin America and the Caribbean had a hull loss rate of 2.55 (3.1
times worse than the global average). The region’s carriers had
five hull losses during 2008. Addressing infrastructure issues
remains a top priority.
The Middle East and North Africa saw
its accident rate worsen to 1.89 in 2008 with two accidents
involving carriers from the region.
Three issues emerged in
Runway excursions accounted for 25% of all accidents
in 2008. IATA will launch a Runway Safety Toolkit in 2009, which
it has developed with Flight Safety Foundation. The toolkit will
also be incorporated with IATA’s broad ranging safety data tools
in the IATA Global Safety Information Centre to be launched later
Ground damage accounted for 17% of all accidents in
2008. To improve safety and combat this US$4 billion annual
industry cost, IATA has launched the IATA Safety Audit for Ground
Operations (ISAGO). This is the first global safety standard for
ground operations. A total of 80 audits are targeted for this
A total of 30% of all accidents in 2008 noted deficient
safety management at the airline level as a contributing factor.
IATA has incorporated a requirement for Safety Management Systems
(SMS) into the IATA Operational Safety Audit (IOSA) and is working
with carriers at an individual and regional level for effective
These initiatives are consistent with IATA’s
comprehensive Six-point Safety Programme which focuses on (1)
infrastructure safety, (2) safety data management and analysis,
(3) operations, (4) Safety Management Systems, (5) maintenance and
“Our target is zero accidents, and
zero fatalities. Nothing less is an acceptable result,” Bisignani
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