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IATA Proclaims 2023 as the ‘Safest Year in Aviation’

On February 28, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) unveiled its 2023 Annual Safety Report, proclaiming that 2023 was the safest year in aviation. The report documented 37 million flight operations over the past year, encompassing both jet-powered aircraft and turboprops, marking a 17% rise from 2022. This growth signals a robust rebound from the economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

2023 safety performance continues to demonstrate that flying is the safest mode of transport. Aviation places its highest priority on safety, and that shows in its 2023 performance. Jet operations saw no hull losses or fatalities. 2023 also saw the lowest fatality risk and ‘all accident’ rate on record. A single fatal turboprop accident with 72 fatalities, however, reminds us that we can never take safety for granted. And two high profile accidents in the first month of 2024 show that, even if flying is among the safest activities a person can do, there is always room to improve.”

Willie Walsh, the Director General of IATA

2023 Accident Analysis

The year 2023 saw a total of 30 accidents involving both turboprops and jet aircraft, as per the IATA. This equates to one accident per 1.26 million flights, an improvement over the 42 accidents reported in 2022, which corresponded to one accident per 0.77 million flights. While these statistics might appear concerning at first glance, they underscore the exceedingly rare nature of air travel accidents across all regions and aircraft types, affirming aviation as the safest mode of transportation available.

Regrettably, a fatal incident occurred with an ATR 72 in Nepal when Yeti Airlines flight 691 crashed during its final approach to Pokhara airport on January 15, 2023. The crash resulted in the loss of all passengers and crew members on board. The primary suspected cause of the crash is human error, specifically a mistake by one of the pilots who inadvertently selected the feathered position during flight.

In regions like the US, Europe, and Australia, flying is markedly safer than car travel. The likelihood of experiencing a car accident is higher than that of an aircraft incident, with the chances of the latter being approximately 1 in 1.2 million, and the probability of a fatal outcome is one in 11 million. In contrast, the risk associated with driving is 200,000 times greater, averaging a chance of one in 5,000.


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