Air travel gets safer, records 0.11 fatality-risk ratio per one million flights
The 2022 Safety Report for global aviation, recently released by the International Air Transport Association (IATA), also showed a reduction in the number of fatal accidents, compared to 2021 and to the five-year average (2018-2022).
Specifically in 2022, there were five fatal accidents involving loss of life to passengers and crew. This is reduced from seven in 2021 and an improvement on the five-year average (2018-2022), which were also seven.
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 declined to 0.11 from 0.23 in 2021 and 0.13 for the five years, 2018-2022. IATA member airlines experienced one fatal accident in 2022, with 19 fatalities.
IATA’s Director General, Willie Walsh, said accidents are now rare in aviation.
“There were five fatal accidents among 32.2 million flights in 2022. 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.
“Careful analysis of the trends that are emerging even at these very high levels of safety is what will make flying even safer. This year’s report, for example, tells us that we need to make some special efforts on turboprop operations in Africa and Latin America. Safety is aviation’s highest priority, and our goal is to have every flight take off and land safely regardless of region or aircraft type,” Walsh said.
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. The airline involved was not an IATA member but is on the IATA Operational Safety Audit (IOSA) registry.
The next largest loss of life occurred in an accident to an IATA member in Tanzania that resulted in 19 fatalities. Participation in IOSA is a requirement for IATA membership.
“IOSA continues to be the global standard for operational safety audits. With carriers on the IOSA registry having an aggregate safety record that is four times better than non-IOSA carriers, it is clearly continuing to make a difference.
“Now celebrating its 20th anniversary, we are transitioning IOSA to a risk-based model. By focusing on pertinent safety risks while maintaining a baseline of safety, IOSA will contribute to raising the safety bar even higher.
“Additionally, the IATA Standard Safety Assessment (ISSA), for operators of smaller aircraft that are not eligible for the IOSA program, ensures we look to deliver continuous improvement in safety performance across the whole aviation ecosystem,” Walsh said.