By Andy Sambidge
Region's accident rate increases as global record improves to lowest rate in aviation history
The Middle East and North Africa region reported one of the worst airplane accident rates in the world last year, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) said on Tuesday.
While the global accident rate (measured in hull losses per million flights of Western-built jets) was 0.37, the equivalent of one accident every 2.7 million flights, the MENA rate worsened to 2.02 from 0.72 in 2010.
Only the rate for Africa was worse at 3.27, representing a 56 percent improvement from 7.41 in 2010.
Globally, the accident rate was the lowest in aviation history, surpassing the previous mark set in 2010, IATA said in a statement.
This represented a 39 percent improvement compared to 2010, when the accident rate was 0.61, or one accident for every 1.6 million flights.
A hull loss is an accident in which the aircraft is destroyed or substantially damaged and not subsequently repaired for whatever reason including a financial decision by the owner.
Tony Tyler, IATA’s director general and CEO, said: “Safety is the air transport industry’s number one priority. It is also a team effort. The entire stakeholder community — airlines, airports, air navigation service providers and safety regulators - works together every day to make the skies safer based on global standards."
IATA said 2.8 billion people flew safely on 38 million flights (30 million by jet, 8 million by turboprop) last year.
There was a total of 11 hull loss accidents involving Western-built jets compared to 17 in 2010 and 92 total accidents down from 94 in 2010.
A total of five fatal hull loss accidents involving Western-built jets were reported in 2011 compared to eight in the previous year while there were 22 fatal accidents (all aircraft types) versus 23 in 2010, resulting in 486 fatalities compared to 786 in 2010.
Asia-Pacific (0.25), Europe (0.0), North America (0.10) and North Asia (0.0) performed better than the global average of 0.37.
Asia-Pacific, Europe and North Asia recorded improvements compared to their performance in 2010, while North America stayed the same.
Latin America and the Caribbean performed better than 2010 (1.28 in 2011 vs 1.87 in 2010), but was still almost 3.5 times worse than the global average.