Final figures compiled by the International Air Transport Association (IATA) showed 2012 had the lowest accident rates in the 98-year history of aviation.
The accident rate involving Western-built jets, which constitute the bulk of aircraft flying the world's skies, was 0.2, the equivalent of one accident every 5 million flights.
That represented a 46% improvement over 2011, when the accident rate was 0.37, or one accident for every 2.7 million flights.
Including Eastern-built aircraft, 75 accidents took place last year, down from 92 a year ago.
There were 15 fatal accidents involving all aircraft types last year and 414 people died. In 2011 there were 22 fatal accidents and 486 died.
Last year nearly 3 billion people flew safely on 37.5 million flights (29.8 million by jet, 7.7 million by turboprop).
Tony Tyler, IATA director-general, said the industry's safety performance last year was the best since the first commercial airline flight took place on Jan 1, 1914. But he added that every accident is one too many and each fatality is a human tragedy, so there is still work to do.
Asia-Pacific was one of three regions which saw safety performance dropped as compared to 2011 while those of others either outperformed the global western-built jet hull loss rate or improved over the previous year.
The accident rate for Africa, which is notorious for air accidents, deteriorated from 3.27 to 3.71 in 2012, while Asia-Pacific's rate dropped from 0.25 to 0.48 and Europe dipped from 0.0 to 0.15.
The Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), Middle East and North Africa, North America and North Asia all received a rate of 0.0. The CIS improved on its rate from 1.06 to 0.00, Latin America and the Caribbean went from 1.28 to 0.42, Middle East and North Africa gained from 2.02 to 0.0 and North America went from 0.10 to 0.0.
Runway excursions, where an aircraft departs a runway during a landing or takeoff, were the most common type of accident in 2012 at 28% of the total, IATA reported.
Some 82% of runway excursions occurred following a stable approach where the aircraft floated beyond the normal touchdown point, or braking devices did not activate in a timely manner, or because directional control was not maintained after landing.
About the author
- Writer: Boonsong Kositchotethana
Position: Deputy Editor Business