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Sat 26 Feb 2011 03:43 PM

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Middle East sees dramatic drop in air accidents

Region saw decline though, globally, jetliner crashes killed 15% more people in 2010

Middle East sees dramatic drop in air accidents
The global accident rate for Western-built jet aircraft dropped to the lowest on record

Jetliner crashes killed 15 percent more people in 2010 than in the previous year, led by fatal accidents in India, Pakistan and Libya.

Airliner crash deaths rose to 786 in the year, International Air Transport Association director general Giovanni Bisignani said. The global accident rate for Western-built jet aircraft dropped to 0.61 losses per million flights, the lowest on record, he said.

The Middle East, however, reported a four-fold improvement, with air accidents falling from a rate of 3.32 in 2009 to 0.72 in 2010.

“Every fatality is a human tragedy that reminds us of the ultimate goal of zero accidents and zero fatalities,” Bisignani said in the statement. “Safety is the number one priority.”

John Siddharth, an industry analyst in the aerospace and defence sector at Dubai-based consultants Frost and Sullivan, said accident rates in the region are expected to fall further.

 “[This is] due to adaptation of advanced navigation systems which are expected to be installed at airports,” he said. “These systems are expected to assist the aircraft in approach.”

Globally, 2.4 billion people flew on 36.8 million flights last year, resulting in 17 hull loss accidents and 94 accidents. This compared to 19 and 90, respectively, in 2009.

North America (0.10), Europe (0.45) and North Asia (0.34) performed well, while Asia-Pacific was higher than the global average and scored 0.80.

Latin America and the Caribbean reported a rate of 1.87, a result of four airlines in the region incurring accidents.

The worst performing region was Africa. While its rate dropped from 9.94 in 2009, its 2010 rate was still high at 7.41.

Africa only accounts for 2 percent of global traffic, but comprises nearly a quarter of all global accidents among western-built jets.

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