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Prop planes three times riskier than jets: IATA

Fatalities still low, but rough air-related injuries up

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has delivered its report card on commercial aviation safety for 2018 - and in keeping with recent trends, it makes for reassuring reading for travellers. 


Whilst the safety performance of the airline industry last year failed to match the record low accident rate of just 1.11 accidents per 1 million flights, carriers still limited losses to 1.35 (per million flights) - or one accident per 740,000 flights - which was also an improvement over the 5-year period 2013-2017 (1.79). 



Major accidents, which include jet hull losses, measured 0.19 (the equivalent of one accident per 5.4 million flights), while the turboprop hull loss rate was more than three times higher, at 0.60 per million flights. Turboprop plane accidents accounted for 24% of all accidents in 2018 and nearly half 50% of fatal accidents. 


Overall, there were 11 fatal accidents with 523 fatalities among passengers and crew in 2018.


“Last year some 4.3 billion passengers flew safely on 46.1 million flights. 2018 was not the extraordinary year that 2017 was. However, flying is safe, and the data tell us that it is getting safer,” IATA director general and CEO Alexandre de Juniac said. 


“For example, if safety in 2018 had remained at the same level as 2013, there would have been 109 accidents instead of 62; and there would have been 18 fatal accidents, instead of the 11 that actually occurred.


“Flying continues to be the safest form of long distance travel the world has ever known. 


“Based on the data, on average, a passenger could take a flight every day for 241 years before experiencing an accident with one fatality on board.” 


While crash fatalities continue to fall generally, passenger and cabin crew injuries related to in-flight turbulence are climbing, according to IATA. 


With this in mind, IATA will next year launch a global platform for sharing automated turbulence reports in real time, calledTurbulence Aware.


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Written by: Mark Harada
Published: 22 February 2019

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