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Published on : Thursday, January 14, 2016
For the calendar year 2015 the commercial air transport sector operated more than 40 million flights and carried over 3.5 billion passengers safely across the world. There were four major accidents involving large western-built jets operated by commercial airlines, which resulted in a total of 374 fatalities. These losses included the Germanwings and Metrojet events which are understood to be the result of deliberate acts of unlawful interference. Asia Pacific carriers reported no major accidents involving large western-built commercial airline jets. The global fatal accident rate of one in 5 million flights marks 2015 as the safest year ever for commercial aviation, as the industry reaffirmed its commitment to delivering continuous improvements in air safety performance. The major accident loss rate has more than halved over the past five years.
Turboprop operations have also maintained a very good safety record, with fewer major accidents being reported in 2015, but continue to experience somewhat higher accident rates compared to larger jet aircraft operations. Particular challenges include operating in remote geographical areas, and technical limitations involving the available airport and air navigation infrastructure.
The aviation industry’s excellent safety record reflects the benefits of close collaboration amongst the various stakeholders, including airlines, aerospace manufacturers, airports, air navigation and other service providers, working closely with national regulatory authorities in accordance with established International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) global standards.
Commenting on the industry’s safety performance, Mr. Andrew Herdman, Director General of the Association of Asia Pacific Airlines (AAPA) said, “Flying today is extraordinarily safe, and aircraft accidents are now increasingly rare events. Indeed, the 2015 accident rate is the lowest ever recorded, but we can never afford to be complacent.”
On turboprop operations Mr. Herdman noted, “Turboprop operations play an important role in serving smaller markets and developing regions of the world, but do face some specific operational challenges. We believe there are opportunities to further enhance safety performance by focusing particular attention on the importance of human factors including relevant flight training and adherence to standard operating procedures, as well as investments in upgrading the relevant air navigation aids and ground infrastructure at airports.”
On regional growth Mr. Herdman commented, “Air transport links are a key driver of economic and social development, and demand for air travel is expected to continue expanding year on year, not least in the Asia Pacific region which is already the world’s largest aviation market. Governments have an important role to play in ensuring that the necessary aviation infrastructure, including effective regulatory oversight, keeps pace with the expected growth. AAPA’s safety objective is to deliver further positive improvements in safety performance, recognising that this can only be achieved through the joint efforts of the region’s operators, working in close partnership with regulators and other involved stakeholders.”
Mr. Herdman concluded, “Passengers can be assured that flying is safe, and getting safer still, thanks to the concerted efforts and commitment of industry and governments working together to ensure that aviation continues to meet the needs of the travelling public for safe, efficient and affordable air services.”