Dutch aviation consulting firm To70 and the Aviation Safety Network both reported on Tuesday there were more than 500 deaths stemming from passenger airline crashes in 2018, but emphasized that fatal crashes remain rare.
The year 2018 saw a sharp rise in fatalities from air crashes compared with 2017, but 2018 was still the ninth safest year on record, reports said.
According to Netherlands-based Aviation Safety Network (ASN), airliner accidents killed 556 persons in 2018, compared with 44 in 2017, the BBC reported on Wednesday.
The worst civilian accident in 2018 was when a Lion Air plane crashed in Indonesia in October, killing 189.
The year 2017 was the safest in history for commercial airlines with no passenger jet crashes recorded.
The fatality rate on passenger jet aircraft worldwide jumped in 2018 after airlines recorded zero accident deaths on passenger jets in the prior year, according to a Dutch consulting firm and an aviation safety group.
To70 estimated that the fatal accident rate for large commercial passenger flights at 0.36 per million flights, or one fatal accident for every 3 million flights.That is up from 2017’s 0.06 per million flight rate and above the most recent five-year average of 0.24 per million flights. There were 13 deaths in 2017 in two fatal crashes worldwide, but both were on regional turboprop aircraft.
Over the last two decades, aviation deaths around the world have been falling. As recently as 2005, there were 1,015 deaths aboard commercial passenger flights worldwide, the Aviation Safety Network said.
However, the picture has been improving generally over the past 20 years. Despite the increase, 2018 was still the third safest year ever in terms of the number of fatal accidents and the ninth safest measured by deaths, the Aviation Safety Network said.
“If the accident rate had remained the same as ten years ago, there would have been 39 fatal accidents last year,” Aviation Safety Network’s chief executive, Harro Ranter, said in a statement. “This shows the enormous progress in terms of safety in the past two decades.”
"If the accident rate had remained the same as 10 years ago there would have been 39 fatal accidents last year," ASN CEO Harro Ranter said.
"At the accident rate of the year 2000, there would have been even 64 fatal accidents. This shows the enormous progress in terms of safety in the past two decades."
But ASN said what it terms loss-of-control (LOC) accidents were a major safety concern for the aviation industry as these accounted for at least 10 of the worst 25 accidents in the past five years.
LOC refers to an unrecoverable deviation from an intended flight path, and can be caused by mechanical failure, human actions or environmental disturbances. Most of those accidents were not
survivable, says the ASN.
The United States suffered its first accident death involving a U.S. airline since 2009 in April, when a fan blade on a Southwest Airlines Co Boeing 737’s jet engine broke apart in flight, shattering a window and nearly sucking a woman out of the plane.