Fatal Accidents, Risks in Global Aviation dropped to 5-year Average: IATA

The number of fatal accidents and the fatality risk in global aviation last year dropped compared to 2021 and to the five-year average (2018-2022), the International Air Transport Association (IATA) said on Tuesday.

There were five fatal accidents involving loss of life to passengers and crew in 2022.

The number reduced from seven in 2021 and an improvement on the five-year average (2018-2022) which was also seven, IATA’s 2022 Safety Report for global aviation says.

The fatal accident rate improved to 0.16 per million sectors for 2022, from 0.27 per million sectors in 2021, and also was ahead of the five-year fatal accident rate of 0.20.

The accident rate was 1.21 per million sectors, a reduction compared to the rate of 1.26 accidents for the five years 2018-2022, but an increase compared to 1.13 accidents per million sectors in 2021.

The fatality risk also declined to 0.11 from 0.23 in 2021 and 0.13 for the five years, 2018-2022.

“Accidents are rare in aviation. There were five fatal accidents among 32.2 million flights in 2022,” said Willie Walsh, IATA’s Director General.

The industry 2022 fatality risk of 0.11 means that on average, a person would need to take a flight every day for 25,214 years to experience a 100% fatal accident.

This is an improvement over the five-year fatality rate (average of 22,116 years), according to the report.

“That tells us that flying is among the safest activities in which a person can engage. But even though the risk of flying is exceptionally low, it is not risk-free,” IATA’s Director General noted.

“Careful analysis of the trends that are emerging even at these very high levels of safety is what will make flying even safer.”

Despite the reduction in the number of fatal accidents, the number of fatalities rose from 121 in 2021 to 158 in 2022. The majority of fatalities in 2022 occurred in a single aircraft accident in China that claimed the lives of 132 persons.

Africa’s increasing Turboprop hull loss rates

The safety report says the number of turboprop accidents declined in 2022 compared to 2021 but they accounted for four of the five fatal accidents last year with the loss of life to passengers and crew onboard.

While six regions showed improvement or no deterioration, IATA says Latin America and sub-Saharan Africa saw increases in the turboprop hull loss rate in 2022 when compared to the five-year average.

“Both sub-Saharan Africa and Latin America saw increases in turboprop accidents last year,” IATA’s Director General stated.

“Introduction and adherence to global standards (including IOSA) are key to reversing this trend.”

Walsh urged African countries to prioritize the implementation of the International Civil Aviation Organization’s (ICAO) safety-related standards and recommended practices (SARPS).

At year-end 2022, some 28 African countries (61%) had an Effective Implementation rate of ICAO SARPS of 60% or greater, unchanged from 2021.