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Reports: 2017 was aviation’s safest year yet


Preliminary figures from two reports have shown 2017 to be the safest year in commercial aviation history, with no fatal large passenger jet accidents, although lives were lost in regional and cargo aircraft crashes.

The Aviation Safety Network (ASN), a Netherlands-based company associated with the Flight Safety Foundation (FSF), reported a total of 10 fatal accidents in 2017, resulting in the deaths of 44 people on board and 35 on the ground.

Five of those were cargo flights, while the remaining five were non-jet passenger flights. The figures are based on worldwide fatal accidents involving commercial aircraft, certified to carry 14 or more passengers.

ASN said the 2017 figure of one fatality per 7.36 million flights was “extremely low,” resulting in the safest year ever for commercial aviation, both in terms of the number of fatal accidents and the number of lives lost. In 2016, ASN recorded 16 accidents with 303 fatalities.

“On Dec. 31, aviation had a record period of 398 days with no passenger jet airliner accidents. Additionally, a record period of 792 days passed since the previous civil aircraft accident claiming over 100 lives,” ASN said.

A separate report by Dutch consultancy firm To70 agreed that 2017 was an “exceptionally good year” for civil aviation safety, reporting only two fatal passenger airline accidents, both involving small turboprops. To70 limits its report to larger passenger aircraft with a maximum takeoff weight (MTOW) of 5,700kg (12,566 lb.) or above. Cargo flights are excluded.

In 2017, To70 recorded 111 accidents, two of which included fatalities, resulting in 0.06 fatal accidents per million large commercial aircraft flights. This compares with their 2016 figure of six fatalities from 71 accidents.

“With so few fatal accidents to examine, it is worth remembering that there were also several quite serious non-fatal accidents in 2017,” To70 said. “There is no room for complacency. Civil aviation, while an industry with a very high level of safety does still carry very large risks.”

Commenting on the reports, ICAO secretary general Fang Liu said, “ICAO is very encouraged that no major hull losses and very few fatalities were reported for 2017 flights. These results speak to the commitment and cooperation of the governments, operators, and professional men and women worldwide who have worked so hard together to achieve them.”

ICAO will release its official safety data for 2017 later this year.




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