Airline Crash Deaths Rose 15% Last Year to 786, IATA Says

Jetliner crashes killed 15 percent more people in 2010 than in the previous year, led by fatal accidents in India, Pakistan and Libya.

Crash deaths were 786 last year at airliners, International Air Transport Association Director General Giovanni Bisignani told reporters today in Tokyo. Fatalities totaled 685 in 2009, IATA said in a separate e-mailed statement.

Total accidents rose to 94 from 90 for all types of aircraft in 2010, the first full year in which safety audits were a condition for IATA membership, according to the statement. The airline industry “must remain focused” on safety, Bisignani said in the statement.

“Every fatality is a human tragedy that reminds us of the ultimate goal of zero accidents and zero fatalities,” he said.

The 234 IATA members, which comprise 93 percent of scheduled international air traffic, have been required to conduct operational safety reviews since April 2009, according to the association.

The global accident rate for Western-built jet aircraft dropped to 0.61 losses per million flights, the lowest on record. Africa had the highest accident rate at 7.41 per million flights, down from 9.94 in the previous year, according to the statement. North America had 0.10 per million, while Europe had 0.45 and North Asia 0.34 in 2010, IATA said.

10-Year Decline

Overall, the accident rate has dropped 42 percent from 2001, according to IATA. A hull loss is an accident in which the aircraft is destroyed or substantially damaged and is not subsequently repaired.

The highest death toll in 2010 came when a Boeing Co. 737 flown by Air India Express overshot the runway on landing in Mangalore, India in May, killing 152 passengers and six crew.

Fatal incidents last year included the crash of an Airbus SAS A321 operated by Pakistan’s Airblue, which hit an Islamabad hillside in July, killing the 146 passengers and six crew.

An Airbus A330 widebody flown by Libya’s Afriqiyah Airways, which came down on its final approach to Tripoli airport in May, killed all but one of the 104 people on board.

Polish President Lech Kaczynski and central bank Governor Slawomir Skrzypek were also among 96 people killed when their plane crashed in western Russia in April.

To contact the reporter on this story: Chris Cooper in Tokyo at ccooper1@bloomberg.net; Kiyotaka Matsuda in Tokyo at kmatsuda@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Neil Denslow at ndenslow@bloomberg.net

Bloomberg reserves the right to edit or remove comments but is under no obligation to do so, or to explain individual moderation decisions.

Please enable JavaScript to view the comments powered by Disqus.