By Courtney Trenwith
Middle East and North Africa has second worst safety record for commercial flights in 2014 as global rate falls to lowest ever rate
The Middle East and North Africa had the second worst safety record for commercial flights in 2014, with almost three times as many accidents as the global average, according to records by the International Air Transport Association (IATA).
There were 0.63 aviation accidents per 1 million flights in the region last year. Despite a significant increase in the number of flights, the figure was almost half the 1.82 annual average recorded between 2009-2013.
The global jet accident rate was 0.23, calculated according to the number of hull losses, which means a plane sustained major structural damage exceeding $1 million or 10 percent of its value, whichever is lower.
The global accident rate was the lowest in history, equivalent of one accident for every 4.4 million flights, despite public concerns and media attention on air safety.
However, the IATA data shows there were no hull losses – accidents involving significant damage – in Africa or North Asia. Africa had recorded the highest average in the preceding five years, at 6.83.
There were 12 fatal accidents involving all aircraft types, with 641 fatalities, compared with an average of 19 fatal accidents and 517 fatalities per year in the five-year period of 2009-2013, IATA said.
The worst accident was Malaysian Airlines flight MH370, which disappeared on March 8, 2014. While the plane has not been found, it has been declared that all 249 people on board died.
Malaysian Airlines flight MH17, which was shot down by anti-aircraft weaponry while flying over the crisis-hit Ukraine on July 17, 2014, was not included in the report because it was not deemed an accident.
"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 show that flying continues to improve its safety performance," IATA director general and CEO Tony Tyler said.
Globally, there were 73 accidents deemed a hull loss, down from 81 in 2013 and the five-year average of 86 per year, according to IATA.
Sixteen percent of all accidents were fatal, below the five-year average of 22 percent.