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Africa records major improvements in air safety

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The aviation industry in Africa has not reported accidents involving turbofan aircrafts for five years, a trend The International Air Transport Association (IATA) attributes to enhance safety standards in the continent.

The 2023 Annual Safety Report by the association indicates that the continent reported improvements in all accident rate which decline from 10.88 accidents per one million sectors in 2022 to 6.38 in 2023, better than the 5-year average of 7.11. The industry also reported no fatalities last year.

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The all accident rate improved from 10.88 per million sectors in 2022 to 6.38 in 2023, better than the 5-year average of 7.11.

Africa has also reported no jet hull losses or fatal accidents since 2020.

Additionally, 2023 marked the fifth occurrence of Africa reporting zero fatal turboprop accidents, with the first instance recorded in 2015.

“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 the 2023 performance. Jet operations saw no hull losses or fatalities. 2023 also saw the lowest fatality risk and ‘all accident’ rate on record,” said Willie Walsh, IATA Director General.

According to IATA, all accident rate improved last year compared to 2022 for all regions with the exceptions of North America and Asia Pacific. No regions experienced a jet hull loss in 2023.

Asia-Pacific recorded a fatal turboprop hull loss, a loss-of-control accident in Nepal in January 2023 with 72 fatalities. As a consequence, all regions except Asia-Pacific recorded a fatality risk of zero in 2023.

“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. This is what we have done throughout our history. And we will continue to make flying ever safer,” he added.

North America had all accident rate rise from 0.53 per million sectors in 2022 to 1.14 in 2023, but remained better than its 5-year average for the region of 1.21. The largest proportion of accidents in 2023 was related to landing gear collapses.

In Asia-Pacific, IATA says all accident rate increased from 0.56 per million sectors in 2022 to 0.78 in 2023, though better than the 5-year average for the region of 1.06. The fatality risk rate per million sectors rose for Asia-Pacific operators from 0.00 in 2022 to 0.16, owing to the fatal accident in Nepal in January 2023, which was due to loss of control in flight.

Middle East and North Africa: The all accident rate improved from 1.30 accidents per million sectors in 2022 to 1.16 last year while Europe reported a all accident rate improvement from 0.98 per million sectors in 2022 down to 0.48 accidents in 2023.

Commonwealth of Independent States saw their all accident rate improved from 2.16 accidents per million sectors the previous year to 1.09 in 2023. This rate is better than the region’s 5-year average of 3.19 accidents per million as North Asia all accident rate improved from 0.45 accidents per million sectors to 0.00 last year.

In 2023, Latin America and Caribbean region reversed an increase in accidents from the previous year. The all accident rate per million sectors improved from 4.47 in 2022 to 0.37 in 2023, better than the 5-year average of 1.91.

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