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Airplanes and transport. IATA releases 2017 airline safety performance

The data show continued strong improvements in this area

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) released data for the 2017 safety performance of the commercial airline industry showing continued strong improvements in safety.

The all accident rate (measured in accidents per 1 million flights) was 1.08, an improvement over the all accident rate of 1.68 in 2016 and the rate of 2.01 for the previous 5-year period (2012-2016).

The 2017 rate for major jet accidents (measured in jet hull losses per 1 million flights) was 0.11, which was the equivalent of one major accident for every 8.7 million flights. This was an improvement over the rate of 0.39 achieved in 2016 and also better than the five-year rate (2012-2016) of 0.33.

There were 6 fatal accidents with 19 fatalities among passengers and crew. This compares with an average of 10.8 fatal accidents and approximately 315 fatalities per year in the previous five-year period (2012-2016). In 2016 there were 9 fatal accidents and 202 fatalities.

None of the 6 fatal accidents involved a passenger jet. Five involved turboprop aircraft and one involved a cargo jet. The crash of the cargo jet also resulted in the deaths of 35 persons on the ground, as well as the crew of the jet.

IATA member airlines experienced zero fatal accidents or hull losses in 2017 with jet or turboprop equipment.

Safety performance 2017:

Almost all regions showed improvement in 2017 compared to the previous five years (2012-2016).

Jet hull loss rates by region of operator (per millions departures)

The world turboprop hull loss rate was 1.30 per million flights, which was a deterioration from 1.01 in 2016 but an improvement over the five-year rate (2012-2016) of 2.18. All regions saw their turboprop safety performance improve in 2017 when compared to their respective five-year rates. Notwithstanding this, accidents involving turboprop aircraft represented 44% of all accidents in 2017 and 83% of fatal accidents.    

Progress in Africa

Sub-Saharan Africa continued to make strong progress on safety. Airlines in the region had zero jet hull losses and zero fatal accidents involving jets or turboprops for a second consecutive year. Both the turboprop hull loss rate and the all accident rates declined against the average of the previous five years. However, the turboprop hull loss rate increased compared to 2016 (5.70 vs. 1.52). In turn, this largely was responsible for causing an increase in the all accident rate compared to 2016 (6.87 vs. 2.43).


In 2017, the all accident rate for airlines on the IOSA registry was nearly four times better than that of non-IOSA airlines (0.56 vs. 2.17) and it was nearly three times better over the 2012-16 period. All IATA member airlines are required to maintain their IOSA registration. There are currently 423 airlines on the IOSA Registry of which 142 are non-IATA Members. Over the next few years, IOSA will undergo a digital transformation that will enable IOSA airlines to compare and benchmark their performance. In the long run, the digital transformation will help to focus auditing on areas with the highest level of safety risk.

Six-point safety strategy

IATA’s six point safety strategy is a comprehensive data-driven approach to identify organizational, operational and emerging safety issues:

Reducing operational risk such as LOC-I (Loss of Control In-flight), CFIT (Controlled Flight Into Terrain) and RE (Runway Excursions)

Enhancing quality and compliance through audit programs

Advocating for improved aviation infrastructure such as implementation of performance-based navigation approaches

Supporting consistent implementation of Safety Management Systems

Supporting effective recruitment and training to enhance quality and compliance through programs such as the IATA Training and Qualification Initiative

Identifying and addressing emerging safety issues, such as lithium batteries and integrating remotely-piloted aircraft systems (RPAS) into airspace.

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© World Aeronautical Press Agency Srl