Though it might be difficult to tell from the spate of news coverage over the course of the past year, but 2014 was a safer year for commercial flying than previous years, a new report suggests.
Last year, the global jet accident rate was 0.23 hull loss accidents per million flights. That’s equivalent to one accident for every 4.4 million flights, making it the lowest rate in history, according to the International Air Transport Association (IATA), an association that represents 250 airlines globally.
By comparison, between 2009 and 2013, the five-year rate was 0.58 hull loss accidents per million flights.
“Any accident is one too many and safety is always aviation’s top priority,” Tony Tyler, IATA’s director general and CEO, said in a news release. “While aviation safety was in the headlines in 2014, the data show that flying continues to improve its safety performance.”
In 2014, there were 12 fatal commercial flights with a total of 641 fatalities, according to the report. Between 2009 and 2013, there were an average of 19 per year with an average of 517 fatalities per year.
However, the 2014 numbers do not include Malaysia Airlines 17, a Boeing 777 that was shot down over eastern Ukraine. Russian troops have been blamed for shooting down the jet.
“The shooting down of MH 17 took with it 298 lives in an act of aggression that is by any measure unacceptable,” Tyler said. “Governments and industry have come together to find ways to reduce the risk of over-flying conflict zones. This includes better sharing of critical information about security risks to civil aviation. And we are calling on governments to find an international mechanism to regulate the design, manufacture and deployment of weapons with anti-aircraft capabilities.
“To the flying public an air tragedy is an air tragedy, regardless of how it is classified,” Tyler added. “In 2014 we saw a reduction in the number of fatal accidents—and that would be true even if we were to include MH 17 in the total. The greatest tribute that we can pay to those who lost their lives in aviation-related tragedies is to continue our dedication to make flying ever safer. And that is exactly what we are doing.”