Although the aviation industry’s performance in 2020 was adversely impacted by severe reduction in flight numbers due to the pandemic restrictions, flying remained safe, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) said.

“Flying is safe, although the industry did take a step back on performance in 2020,” Alexandre de Juniac, IATA Director General and CEO said as he released the 2020 safety performance of the commercial airline industry released last night (March 25).

Total flight operations plunged 53 percent to 22 million in 2020 but the all accident rate was 1.71 accidents per million flights.

This was higher than the 5-year (2016-2020) average rate which is 1.38 accidents per million flights.

IATA member airlines’ accident rate was 0.83 per million flights, which was an improvement over the 5-year average rate of 0.96.

The total number of accidents decreased from 52 in 2019 to 38 in 2020.

The total number of fatal accidents decreased from 8 in 2019 to 5 in 2020.

Nevertheless, fatality risk remained unchanged compared to the five-year average at 0.13.

With a fatality risk of 0.13 for air travel, on average, a person would have to travel by air every day for 461 years before experiencing an accident with at least one fatality.

On average, a person would have to travel every day for 20,932 years to experience a 100 percent fatal accident.

Significantly, for the first time in more than 15 years there were no Loss of Control Inflight (LOC-I) accidents, which have accounted for the largest share of fatalities since 2016.

“The lack of any such events in 2020 was a positive development,” de Juniac noted.

“Nevertheless, based on the initial reports from the investigation into the tragic loss of Sriwijaya Air SJ 182 early in 2021, we must continue to learn and improve.”

The global average hull loss rate rose slightly in 2021 compared to the five-year average (2016-2020) despite improvement in five regions.

Accidents involving turboprop aircraft represented 29 percent of all accidents and 40 percent of fatal accidents in 2020.

“While we recognize the extraordinary challenges in 2020 that touched on all aspects of aviation, we hope that we will see additional movement in this number as the pandemic recedes,” says de Juniac

“We will have even sharper focus on safety during this period of reduced operations and as flight schedules are rebuilt when the world reopens,” the IATA’s Director General pledged.

Source: Manila Bulletin (