Global air accident rate hits new low

Rate reaches one accident for every 2.7 million flights

The accident rate for western-built jets in 2011 was the lowest in aviation history, surpassing the previous mark set in 2010, according to research just published by IATA. The global accident rate, which is measured in hull losses per million flights of western-built jets, was 0.37 – the equivalent of one accident for every 2.7 million flights. This was a 39% improvement compared to 2010. A hull loss is an accident in which the aircraft is destroyed or substantially damaged and not subsequently repaired for whatever reason including a financial decision by the owner.
There were 11 hull-loss accidents involving western-built jets, compared to 17 in 2010. On all aircraft types, however – eastern and western built – there were 92 accidents in total, down slightly from 94 in 2010. Rates for Russia, the Commonwealth of Independent States and the Middle East worsened. But the total number of accidents for African airlines dropped from 18 in 2010 to 8 in 2011.
One rising trend is ground damage, accounting for 16% of accidents in 2011, up from 11% in 2010. These accidents include events such as damage resulting from ground handling operations and collisions during taxi.
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[pictured: Controlled impact demonstration conducted by NASA and the FAA, 1984; courtesy NASA]