This week we heard in the news that global airline safety rates, covering total crashes and passenger deaths, have improved by nearly 50 per cent this year over the first 11 months of 2010..
Total fatal accidents up to November 30 were 22, causing the deaths of 486 passengers and crew. Last year’s totals were 23 and 786. In 2006, 855 people died in 20 crashes.
All world regions including Africa, long one of the most dangerous for air travel, have this year seen a proportional drop in fatalities and plane losses — with the lone exception of Russia and countries linked to it in the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), IATA said.
“As of the end of November, the global safety performance (of the industry) is at the best level recorded, and is 49 percent better than the same time last year,” IATA senior vice-president for safety Gunther Matschnigg told reporters.
One of 2011’s most high-profile Russian air disasters was September’s crash at Yaroslavl, on the Volga north-east of Moscow, which killed 45 passengers, including the 37 members of the local Lokomotiv ice hockey squad.
Matschnigg, speaking at IATA’s annual briefing for journalists covering the industry, said a key problem in Russia was that pilots and ground technicians were having to adapt to a growing number of highly sophisticated aircraft.
The IATA safety chief credited the seven-year-old programme, which provides for thorough and regular checks on all aspects of flight security and aircraft maintenance as well as training of personnel, for the major improvement in Africa.