The One-Two-Go Airlines plane crash in Phuket and a spate of accidents in Indonesia downgraded the safety records of Asia Pacific carriers last year.
The region’s civil aircraft accident rate increased to 2.76 hull losses per million flights, compared to 0.67 in the previous year, according to the International Air Transport Association (IATA).
Tragic accidents in Africa, Indonesia and Brazil pushed the global accident rate to 0.75 hull losses for every million flights by Western-built jets from 0.65 in 2006.
The number of global fatalities declined 19% from 855 to 692, even as passenger numbers rose 6% to more than 2.2 billion.
In absolute numbers, there were 100 accidents in 2007 (57 jet, 43 turboprop) compared with 77 in 2006 (46 jet, 31 turboprop).
Despite the increased accident rates, IATA director-general Giovanni Bisignani maintained that air travel remains the safest mode of transport.
In the 10 years from 1998, the accident rate has fallen by almost half from 1.34 per million flights to 0.75.
The number of fatalities dropped significantly in 2007.
”That’s good news. But our goal is always to do better: zero fatalities and zero accidents,” he said.
Russia and the former Soviet states had no accidents, following a disastrous year in 2006.
At 0.09 and 0.29 accidents per million flights, North America and Europe had hull-loss rates significantly better than the global average.
Africa had the worst record at 4.09 hull-losses per million flights. While this is an improvement over last year, it is still six times less safe to fly in Africa than the rest of the world, said the Geneva-based group that represents 240 airlines.
Almost half of the year’s accidents took place during landing. Several could have been prevented by the initiation of a timely go-around.
Almost 20% of all accidents in 2007 were related to ground damage. Lack of standardisation can contribute to ground handling activities that damage aircraft.