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The main fuselage from TransAsia Airways Flight 235 is hoisted away in Taipei, Taiwan in February. 

IATA releases 2014 safety performance

Fewest jet hull losses but rise in total fatalities

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has released 2014 commercial aviation safety performance.

The 2014 global jet accident rate (measured in hull losses per one million flights) was 0.23, which was the lowest rate in history and the equivalent of one accident for every 4.4 million flights. This was an improvement over 2013, when the global hull loss rate stood at 0.41 (an average of one accident every 2.4 million flights) and also an improvement over the five-year rate (2009-2013) of 0.58 hull loss accidents per million flights jet.

  • There were 12 fatal accidents involving all aircraft types in 2014 with 641 fatalities, compared with an average of 19 fatal accidents and 517 fatalities per year in the five-year period (2009-2013).
  • The 2014 jet hull loss rate for members of IATA was 0.12 (one accident for every 8.3 million flights), which outperformed the global average by 48 per cent and which showed significant improvement over the five-year rate of 0.33.

"Any accident is one too many, and safety is always aviation's top priority. While aviation safety was in the headlines in 2014, the data shows that flying continues to improve its safety performance," said Tony Tyler, IATA's director general and CEO.

MH 370 and MH 17

The year 2014 will be remembered for two extraordinary and tragic events - MH 370 and MH 17. Although the reasons for the disappearance and loss of MH 370 are unknown, it is classified as a fatal accident - one of 12 in 2014. The aviation industry has welcomed the proposal by the International Civil Aviation Organisation to move towards the adoption of a performance-based standard for global tracking of commercial aircraft, supported by multinational operational assessments to evaluate impact and guide implementation.

The destruction of MH 17 by anti-aircraft weaponry, however, is not included as an accident under globally recognised accident classification criteria. The four aircraft involved in the events of September 11 were treated in the same way.

"The shooting down of MH 17 took with it 298 lives in an act of aggression that is by any measure unacceptable. Governments and industry have come together to find ways to reduce the risk of over- flying conflict zones. This includes better sharing of critical information about security risks to civil aviation. And we are calling on governments to find an international mechanism to regulate the design, manufacture and deployment of weapons with anti-aircraft capabilities," said Tyler.

"To the flying public, an air tragedy is an air tragedy, regardless of how it is classified. In 2014, we saw a reduction in the number of fatal accidents, and that would be true even if we were to include MH 17 in the total. The greatest tribute that we can pay to those who lost their lives in aviation-related tragedies is to continue our dedication to make flying ever safer. And that is exactly what we are doing," said Tyler.

2014 Safety by the numbers:

  • More than 3.3 billion people flew safely on 38 million flights (30.6 million by jet, 7.4 million by turboprop)
  • 73 accidents (all aircraft types), down from 81 in 2013 and the five-year average of 86 per year
  • 12 fatal accidents (all aircraft types) versus 16 in 2013 and the five-year average of 19
  • 16 per cent of all accidents were fatal, below the five-year average of 22 per cent
  • Seven hull loss accidents involving jets compared to 12 in 2013 and the five-year average of 16
  • Three fatal hull loss accidents involving jets, down from six in 2013, and the five-year average of eight
  • 17 hull loss accidents involving turboprops of which nine were fatal
  • 641 fatalities compared to 210 fatalities in 2013 and the five-year average of 517

Jet hull loss rates by region of operator

  • All regions but one showed improvement in 2014 when compared to 2013. The exception is Europe, which maintained the rate of 0.15 jet hull losses per one million sectors.
  • All regions saw their safety performance improve in 2014 compared to the respective five-year rate, 2009-2013, as follows:
  • Africa (from 6.83 to 0)
  • Asia-Pacific (from 0.63 to 0.44)
  • Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) (from 2.74 to 0.83)
  • Europe (from 0.24 to 0.15)
  • Latin America and the Caribbean (from 0.87 to 0.41)
  • Middle East-North Africa (1.82 to 0.63)
  • North America (from 0.2 to 0.11)
  • North Asia (from 0.06 to 0).
  • CIS had the worst performance (0.83) among regions, but it showed strong improvement over three consecutive years: 6.34 (2011), 1.91 (2012), 1.79 (2013).

Turboprop hull loss rates by region of operator

  • The world turboprop hull loss rate improved to 2.3 hull losses per million flights in 2014 compared to 2.78 in the five years 2009-2013.
  • The following regions saw their turboprop safety performance improve in 2014 when compared to the respective five-year rate: Asia-Pacific (from 2.16 to 0); CIS (from 12.12 to 11.95); Europe (from 1.46 to 0.71); Latin America and the Caribbean (from 4.53 to 1.21); Middle East-North Africa (from 7.91 to 7.17).
  • Africa had the worst performance (14.13 hull losses per million flights) in 2014 for turboprop hull losses, which exceeded the region's five-year rate of 9.62. There are relatively few turboprop operations in North Asia so the single turboprop hull loss experienced in the region in 2014 caused the turboprop hull loss rate to rise to 11.28 compared to the five-year rate of. 2.41. North America also saw a deterioration in 2014 compared to the preceding five years (1.19 vs. 1.02).

IOSA

Airlines on the IATA Operational Safety Audit (IOSA) Registry experienced three jet hull loss accidents and one turboprop hull loss accident. The total accident rate (all aircraft types) for IOSA-registered carriers was more than three times better than the rate for non-IOSA carriers (1.09 vs. 3.32). As of 4 March 2015, 396 airlines are on the IOSA registry. For IATA's 251 airlines, IOSA certification is a requirement for membership in the Association. That some 145 non-member airlines are also on the registry is evidence that IOSA is the global benchmark for airline operational safety management.

"The overall performance of IOSA airlines shows that the audits are among the factors having a positive impact on safety. Beginning this year, we have upgraded to Enhanced IOSA, which incorporates systems to monitor compliance across the two-year audit cycle. This is moving IOSA from a once-every-two-year snapshot to a continuous management process," said Tyler. 

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