New York - The International Air Transport Association (IATA) released its 44th annual Safety Report today. The report showed that the 2007 global accident rate of 0.75 hull losses for every million flights by Western-built jet aircraft was slightly higher than the 0.65 rate recorded in 2006. This was largely the result of tragic accidents in Africa, Indonesia and to some extent Brazil. IATA member airlines performed better than the industry average with an accident rate of 0.68 hull losses per million flights.

    The number of global fatalities declined 19% from 855 to 692, even as passenger numbers increased by 6% to over 2.2 billion passengers in 2007. In absolute numbers, there were 100 accidents in 2007 (57 jet, 43 turboprop) compared with 77 accidents in 2006 (46 jet, 31 turboprop).

    “Air travel is the safest mode of transportation. In the ten years from 1998, the accident rate was reduced by almost half - from 1.34 accidents per million flights to 0.75. And the number of fatalities dropped significantly in 2007. That’s good news. But our goal is always to do better: zero fatalities and zero accidents,” said Giovanni Bisignani, IATA’s Director General and CEO.

    The IATA Operational Safety Audit (IOSA) is the global standard for airline safety management and a key tool in driving further improvements in global safety. All IATA carriers are required to complete audits and close all findings to join the IOSA Registry by the end of 2008. “Making IOSA a condition of IATA membership is a strong commitment by the industry to raise the bar on safety even higher. Our Partnership for Safety programmes are in place to help our members meet the standards and join the Registry. Safety is our number one priority and starting in 2008, IATA will finance the costs of the IOSA audits for its members. The results are transparent on for all to see. And we will be tough. By the end of the year, carriers are either on the Registry, or they are out of IATA,” said Bisignani.

    Regional Results: Regional accident rates varied. Russia and the CIS had zero accidents in 2007, following a disastrous year in 2006. At 0.09 and 0.29 accidents per million flights, North America and Europe had hull-loss rates significantly better than the global average. A spate of accidents in Indonesia pushed the Asia Pacific accident rate to 2.76 hull losses per million flights. Latin American accident rate was 1.61 hull losses per million flights. IATA is working with the Brazilian government on a comprehensive programme to improve safety - from IOSA to infrastructure improvements.

    Africa had the worst record at 4.09 hull losses per million flights. “While this is an improvement over last year, it is still six times less safe to fly in Africa than the rest of the world. IATA is working side-by-side with our African members to bring them up to IOSA standards. And we just announced a US$3.7 million programme to give up to 30 African carriers access to IATA’s Flight Data Analysis service for a three-year period,” said Bisignani.

    Contributing Factors: Almost half (48%) of the year’s accidents took place during landing. The majority of these accidents involved a runway excursion. Many of these accidents could have been prevented by the initiation of a timely go-around. IATA, in cooperation with the Flight Safety Foundation, is developing a toolkit that will address the issues linked to runway safety enhancement, including the prevention of runway excursions.

    Almost 20% of all accidents in 2007 related to ground damage. Lack of standardisation can contribute to ground handling activities that result in damage to aircraft. IATA developed the IATA Safety Audit for Ground Operations (ISAGO) programme to drastically reduce aircraft damage and personal injuries in the ground environment. “Ground damage is a US$4 billion cost to the industry. The launch of the first global standards for ground safety with ISAGO will improve safety, cut costs and reduce redundant audits,” said Bisignani.

    Almost half of the accidents in 2007 were linked to a technical issue; maintenance events contributed to almost 20% of all occurrences last year. IATA is revising its safety strategy to encompass maintenance activities and Safety Management System implementation for maintenance organisations.

    Notes for Editors:

    • IATA represents some 240 airlines comprising 94% of scheduled international traffic
    • Definition of terms:
      • Hull Loss: 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.
      • Western-built Jet: Commercial Jet transport aircraft with a maximum certificated takeoff weight of more than 15,000 kg, designed and manufactured in the Western world countries.
      • Contribution factors: These factors are independent of each other and a single accident can have a multiple of contributing factors.