The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has released its annual airline safety report, confirming the widely held belief that airline travel is getting safer.
All the primary safety indicators improved against 2018 figures and against the 2014-18 average. The safety report says there were 53 airline accidents in 2019 with accident rate per million flights at 1.13 or one accident every 884,000 flights. In 2018, there were 62 airline accidents, an accident rate of 1.36 per million flights or one accident every 733,000 flights.
Between 2014 and 2018, there were 63.2 airline accidents annually, an accident rate of 1.56 per million flights or one accident every 640,000 flights.
The majority of these accidents were not fatal. In 2019, eight of the 53 accidents were fatal. Across those eight fatal accidents, 240 people died. Of those eight fatal accidents, four were jet aircraft and four were turboprops.
2019 was a better year than 2018. In 2018, there were 11 fatal accidents in which 523 people died. Over the five years between 2014 and 2018, there was an average of 8.2 fatal accidents every year with an average of 303 fatalities annually.
"The release of 2019 Safety Report is a reminder that even as aviation faces its deepest crisis, we are committed to making aviation even safer," said IATA's Director General and CEO Alexandre de Juniac.
Based on the 2019 fatality risk, on average, a passenger could take a flight every day for 535 years before experiencing an accident with one fatality on board.
"Statistically, you will need to fly a lot before your number is up. Human life expectancy is 79 years, so you will have to live through nearly seven lives before you had a really bad flight."
de Juniac said there were about 45 million flights in 2018 carrying 4.5 billion passengers. "So even then statistically, you have about a one per cent chance the fatality will involve you."
A combination of pilot training, better aircraft, more rigorous systems and tougher oversight means this trend is set to continue, said the safety report.