Nigerian carriers still safer
Dutch aviation consulting firm, To70, and the Aviation Safety Network, both reported there were more than 500 deaths stemming from passenger airline crashes in 2018, but emphasized that fatal crashes remain rare.
Meanwhile, the industry in Nigeria recorded zero crash in commercial operations in 2018, rating it among the safest. The local industry has the enviable record of three-year operations without a major accident.
To70 estimated the fatal accident rate for large commercial passenger flights at 0.36 per million flights, or one fatal accident for every three 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 past 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.
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.
Aviation Safety Network’s chief executive, Harro Ranter, explained that if the accident rate had remained the same as 10 years ago, there would have been 39 fatal accidents last year.
“This shows the enormous progress in terms of safety in the past two decades,” Ranter said.
Fatal accidents last year included the crash of the Lion Air-operated Boeing 737 Max 8, which crashed into the Java Sea after takeoff from Jakarta, killing 189, in October.
In May, a Cubana Boeing 737-201 crashed just outside Havana airport, killing 112 people.
Earlier last year in March, 51 of 71 on board died after a US-Bangla Airlines plane crashed on landing at Nepal´s international airport.
In February, a plane operated by Saratov Airlines crashed in Russia after taking off from Stepanovskoye, killing all 71 people aboard, while in the same month an Aseman Airlines flight crashed into a mountain in Iran, killing 66 people onboard.
Meanwhile, 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.
Flying has been made safer over the past few decades in part because of rigorous investigations into the causes of crashes and then learning from mistakes and design faults that have been uncovered.
Mark Millam, with the U.S.-based Flight Safety Foundation, said: “You have less aircraft that are running into mountaintops because of systems that warn pilots if they are close to the ground.
“This is coming from things that were witnessed in other accidents. It is decades of effort.”