Positive Trends Despite 2011 Increase in Global Fatal Airline Accidents

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July 16, 2012

The latest statistics regarding international aviation accidents suggest that global airline operations continue to present many hazards to travellers. Fatal aviation accident statistics from 2011 show an increase in the overall number of plane crashes.

According to Flightglobal, which provides analysis and research to aerospace and aviation professionals in the air transport industry, the total number of fatal airline accidents rose from 26 to 32 between 2010 and 2011. The latest figure exceeds the ten-year average of 31 world airline fatal accidents.

However, the number of human fatalities that resulted from those accidents was the second lowest figure in the past decade. Airline safety analysts attribute the fact that fatalities decreased despite the rise in accidents to the predominance of small commuter aircraft crashes involving local operators in 2011.

Also, due to increased traffic volumes, the rate of fatal accidents actually improved from about one in every 1.3 million flights to one per 1.5 million global flights. Focusing on that measure alone, 2011 was the safest year on record.

Regional Trends in International Fatal Airline Crash Rates

The worst accidents of the year both involved Boeing 727s: an Iran Air crash in January during a domestic flight; and the crash of a Congolese jet in bad weather at Kisangani. In each of these commercial jet accidents, the aircraft had been built before 1980. A total of 140 people died in these two crashes.

While no accidents were reported in Europe and fatal passenger aircraft crash rates decreased in most regions, Flightglobal cited statistics from the International Air Transport Association (IATA) to point to troubling trends in Indonesia and the states of the former Soviet Union. Prominent among the incidents that led those numbers was the Russian Yak-42 passenger jet that crashed in September, taking 43 lives including the entire roster of a professional hockey team.

Whether a crash is caused by pilot error, design defects or maintenance problems with an aging fleet, an international aviation attorney can help clients seek legal remedies worldwide for severe injuries or a wrongful death.