Air travel is “extraordinarily safe” despite the fatal accidents that took place last year, said the Association of Asia Pacific Airlines (AAPA) while reflecting on 2018.
Last year’s air transport safety performance marked a departure from 2017, which was declared the safest year in the history of commercial air travel.
Worldwide, in the calendar year 2018, more than four billion passengers were carried safely on 38 million flights, according to AAPA. There were 13 major accidents involving commercial airline operations, which resulted in a total of 523 fatalities.
This represented an overall loss rate of one major accident for every three million flights, AAPA said.
Looking more closely at the data, there were seven major accidents involving large western-built commercial airline jets, which resulted in a total of 304 fatalities, representing a loss rate for this category of operations of one major accident for every five million flights.
Asia-Pacific carriers experienced two major accidents involving large western-built commercial airline jets, which resulted in 190 fatalities. AAPA member airlines experienced zero major accidents during 2018.
Turning to turboprop aircraft operations, worldwide there were five major accidents in 2018 involving commercial airlines, which resulted in a total of 148 fatalities, including one accident involving an Asian operator which resulted in 51 fatalities.
Turboprop operations play an important role in the development of new routes and connectivity to relatively inaccessible regions. Overall safety performance for turboprop operations has benefitted from collective efforts to address specific risk factors and operational challenges.
Andrew Herdman, director general of AAPA, commented: “Flying is extraordinarily safe, and major accidents are rare events, but the industry experienced a number of fatal accidents in 2018 which reinforce the need to maintain and further enhance the highest safety management practices and standards.
“Attaining ICAO’s global aviation safety objectives requires active collaboration of regulators and industry, at all levels, to establish proactive safety management systems across the industry, identify evolving safety priorities and address common operational challenges.”
The booming demand for air travel comes with added challenges, again reinforcing the importance of collaboration between governments and the industry to “tackle existing aviation infrastructure capacity constraints and congestion, while investing in the future to ensure that the air transport system is able to meet the expected growth in demand”, he added.