2011 safest year for air travel since 1945
The first 11 months of 2011 was the safest period to travel by plane since 1945, according to the International Air Transport Association (IATA).
“As of the end of November, global safety performance (for Western-built jets) is at the best level recorded, and is 49 percent better than the same time last year,” said Gunther Matschnigg, senior vice president for safety, operations and infrastructure for IATA.
This makes 2011 the safest year for air travel since the International Civil Aviation Organization began collecting data in 1945. IATA has calculated and published global airline safety records based on ICAO data since 2000.
The number of fatal accidents fell to 22 from 23 last year. The number of passenger and crew fatalities also declined, down to 486 compared to last year’s 786 deaths.
Globally, the accident rate was 2.16 per million take-offs in the first 11 months of 2011 and across all regions accident rates have fallen except in the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) region –- comprised of Russia and former Soviet republics.
The accident rate in the CIS region increased from 7.15 per million take-offs in 2010 to 11.07 per million take-offs this year.
In North America, accident rates fell to 1.18 per million from 1.51 in 2010. In the Asia-Pacific region, the rate fell to 1.39 from 2.51, and for Europe the figure fell to 1.39 from 1.59.
According to an IATA study conducted in 2010, there is no particularly common type of plane accident that occurs.
The five most common types of accidents are: runway excursions when the jet goes off the runway; a gear-up landing or a gear collapse; loss of in-flight control; ground damage; and in-flight damage, the IATA reported.
The IATA has 240 member airlines from 118 countries, which make up 84 percent of all air traffic in the world.