The number of accidents on Western-built jets declined 39 percent, year-over-year, in 2011 — hitting the lowest number of accidents in the history of aviation, International Air Transport Association data revealed. Unfortunately, Africa remains a trouble spot for the global aviation sector, despite considerable improvement.
African airlines reported eight accidents in 2011, 10 less than in 2010. According to a press release, the accident rate for African airlines on the IATA Operational Safety Audit registry was consistent with the global average, while the rate for African carriers not on the IOSA registry was nearly five times higher than the world average. The same phenomenon occurred in the Commonwealth of Independent States, IATA said.
IATA Director General and CEO Tony Tyler said such statistics speak to the importance of IOSA compliance. “It is quite clear from the industry’s performance that global standards like IOSA are an effective means to improve safety,” Tyler said in a statement. “We are eager to work with governments to make IOSA a part of their safety oversight programs.”
Still, the airline sector saw significant safety improvements in 2011. The number of aviation-related fatalities dropped to 486 last year, compared to 786 in 2010. Plus, only 11 hull-loss accidents involving Western-built jets occurred in 2011, down from 17 in the previous year. Globally, the 2011 accident rate was 0.37, or one accident per 2.7 million flights.
According to the press release, European, North American, Asian-Pacific and North Asian carriers all performed better than the global average, while Latin American and Caribbean airlines reported an accident rate of 1.28, despite improvements from 2010.
Although Tyler praised such progress, he said more can be done to improve safety. “Every accident is one too many, and each fatality is a human tragedy,” he said in a statement. “The ultimate goal of zero accidents keeps everyone involved in aviation focused on building an ever-safer industry.”