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2018: one of the safest years for commercial aviation
Dubai International airport. © Dubai Airports

2018: one of the safest years for commercial aviation

The Aviation Safety Network has released airliner accident statistics for 2018 showing a total of 15 fatal airliner accidents, resulting in 556 fatalities.

Despite several high-profile accidents, the year 2018 was one of the safest years ever for commercial aviation, Aviation Safety Network (ASN) data show, in spite of the fact that last year was worse than the five-year average.

Over the year 2018, the ASN recorded a total of 15 fatal airliner accidents, resulting in 556 fatalities. This makes 2018 the third safest year ever by the number of fatal accidents and the ninth safest in terms of fatalities. The safest year in aviation history was 2017 with 10 accidents and 44 lives lost.

ASN statistics are based on all worldwide fatal commercial aircraft accidents (passenger and cargo flights) involving civil aircraft of which the basic model has been certified for carrying 14 or more passengers.

Looking at that five-year average of 14 accidents and 480 fatalities, last year was worse on both accounts.

Twelve accidents involved passenger flights, three were cargo flights. Three out of 15 accident airplanes were operated by airlines on the EU “blacklist”, up by two compared to 2017.

Given the estimated worldwide air traffic of about 37,800,000 flights, the accident rate is one fatal accident per 2,520,000 flights.

ASN CEO Harro Ranter puts this figure in perspective: “If the accident rate had remained the same as ten years ago, there would have been 39 fatal accidents last year. 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.”

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