More Accidents But Fewer Fatalities
New York - The International
Air Transport Association (IATA) announced the aviation safety
performance for 2008. The total number of fatalities from aviation
accidents dropped from 692 in 2007 to 502 in 2008. This resulted in a 56%
improvement in the fatality rate from 0.23 fatalities per million
passengers to 0.13 per million passengers.
The global accident rate (measured in hull losses per
million flights of Western-built jet aircraft) stood at 0.81 - or one
accident for every 1.2 million flights. This is a slight deterioration on
2007 performance when the accident rate was 0.75 - or one accident for
every 1.3 million flights.
There were 109 accidents in 2008 compared to 100 in 2007.
The number of fatal accidents increased from 20 in 2007 to 23 in 2008.
IATA member airlines significantly outperformed the
industry in safety. With 33 accidents, IATA members drove their accident
rate downwards from 0.68 in 2007 to 0.52 in 2008. That is equal to one
accident for every 1.9 million flights.
“Safety is the industry’s number one priority. Today’s
statistics confirm that travelling by air is one the safest things that a
person can do,” said Giovanni Bisignani, Director General and CEO of
The IATA Operational Safety Audit (IOSA) is the global
industry standard for airline safety management. As of 1 January 2009,
IOSA is a condition of IATA membership. Currently, 204 member airlines
are among the 282 carriers on the IOSA registry (www.iata.org/registry).
A further 21 IATA member airlines are undergoing quality control checks.
Airlines that have not passed the quality control process by 31 March
2009 will have their memberships terminated.
“IATA is a quality association. And the mark of that
quality is safety. While we will be strict in upholding the IOSA
standards, which are recognised by governments around the world, our goal
is to raise the bar on safety with a transparent global standard and
bring all of our members on board,” said Bisignani.
There are significant regional differences in the accident
North Asia had a perfect record of
zero hull losses in 2008. North
America (0.58), Europe
(0.42) and Asia /
Pacific (0.58) all performed better than the global
Africa had an accident rate
that was 2.6 times worse than the world average (2.12). However, this
extends a year-on-year trend of significant improvements. In 2005, for
example, the Africa rate was the worst in the world at 9.21. There was
one Western-built jet hull loss with an African carrier in 2008.
The Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS)
had the worst accident rate in the world at 6.43 (7.9 times worse than
the global average). The relatively small fleet of Western-built jet
aircraft operated in the region means that even a few accidents can skew
the numbers considerably. In 2005 and 2007 there were no accidents in the
region. In 2006 two accidents drove the hull loss rate to 8.6. Last
year there were three Western-built hull losses with CIS carriers.
Latin America and the Caribbean
had a hull loss rate of 2.55 (3.1 times worse than the global average).
The region’s carriers had five hull losses during 2008. Addressing
infrastructure issues remains a top priority.
Middle East and North Africa
saw its accident rate worsen to 1.89 in 2008 with two accidents involving
carriers from the region.
Three issues emerged in 2008:
excursions accounted for 25% of all accidents in 2008. IATA will
launch a Runway Safety Toolkit in 2009, which it has developed with
Flight Safety Foundation. The toolkit will also be incorporated with
IATA’s broad ranging safety data tools in the IATA Global Safety
Information Centre to be launched later this year.
damage accounted for 17% of all accidents in 2008. To improve safety
and combat this US$4 billion annual industry cost, IATA has launched
the IATA Safety Audit for Ground Operations (ISAGO). This is the
first global safety standard for ground operations. A total of
80 audits are targeted for this year.
- A total of
30% of all accidents in 2008 noted deficient safety management at
the airline level as a contributing factor. IATA has incorporated a
requirement for Safety Management Systems (SMS) into the IATA
Operational Safety Audit (IOSA) and is working with carriers at an
individual and regional level for effective implementation.
These initiatives are consistent with IATA’s comprehensive
Six-point Safety Programme which focuses on (1) infrastructure safety,
(2) safety data management and analysis, (3) operations, (4) Safety
Management Systems, (5) maintenance and (6) auditing.
“Our record on safety is impressive. But the accident in
Buffalo last week and all the 502 fatalities in air accidents in 2008 are
human tragedies reminding airlines, regulators and industry partners
everywhere that safety is a constant challenge and we must always strive
to do better. Our target is zero accidents, and zero fatalities. Nothing
less is an acceptable result,” said Bisignani.
2008 Aviation Safety performance (pdf)
(International Air Transport Association) represents some 230
airlines comprising 93% of scheduled international air traffic.
- A hull loss
is an accident in which the aircraft is destroyed or substantially
damaged and is not subsequently repaired for whatever reason
including a financial decision of the owner. IATA tracks and
reports on hull losses involving Western-built jet aircraft. (i.e.
excluding turboprop aircraft and Eastern-built jet aircraft).
- IOSA was
introduced in 2003 as the first global industry standard for airline
operational safety auditing. It assesses airline operational
management and control systems. It improves safety and reduces the
number of audits performed.
- IOSA audit
standards were developed in cooperation with regulatory bodies
including US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), Australia’s
Civil Aviation Safety Authority, Transport Canada, Europe’s Joint
oversees the accreditation of IOSA audit and training organisations,
continually develops standards and recommended practices and manages
the central database.
- IATA is
promoting the use of IOSA in national safety oversight programmes
Chile, Costa Rica, Egypt, Madagascar, Mexico, Panama and Turkey
have mandated IOSA.
- IOSA has
been ISO 9001:2000 registered.
- IOSA is a
condition of IATA membership.
- Any airline
wishing to join IATA must first complete IOSA.
- IATA is
financing IOSA for its members.