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Airlines had their safest year on record in 2023: IATA

The IATA says 'on average a person would have to travel by air every day for 103,239 years to experience a fatal accident'
The IATA says 'on average a person would have to travel by air every day for 103,239 years to experience a fatal accident' - Copyright AFP/File ALAIN JOCARD
The IATA says 'on average a person would have to travel by air every day for 103,239 years to experience a fatal accident' - Copyright AFP/File ALAIN JOCARD

Last year was the safest ever for commercial air travel, despite a massive rebound in passenger flights, an airline industry group said Wednesday.

The only fatal accident of a passenger plane was the crash of an ATR turboprop operated by Nepal’s Yeti Airlines during a domestic flight, killing 72 people, according to the International Air Transport Association’s (IATA) annual report.

The IATA said it counted another 29 accidents in 2023 that did not involve fatalities or loss of the plane. 

In 2022, there was a total of 42 accidents, of which five were fatal and took 158 lives. 

The IATA counts a non-fatal accident as an event that causes damage of at least $1 million or equal to 10 percent of the plane’s value.

IATA statistics do not cover business, military, private, maintainance or training flights.

The IATA said “2023 saw the lowest fatality risk and ‘all accident’ rate on record.”

“On average a person would have to travel by air every day for 103,239 years to experience a fatal accident.”

The low crash rate came despite the number of flights last year rising 17 percent to 37.7 million, the IATA said.

The IATA represents some 320 airlines comprising 83 percent of global air traffic.

“Even if flying is among the safest activities a person can do, there is always room to improve,” said IATA Director General Willie Walsh, citing “two high profile accidents in the first month of 2024.”

In January, a Japan Airlines A350 Airbus was safely evacuated after bursting into flames at a Tokyo airport.

In the United States, a panel blew off the fuselage of a Boeing 737 MAX during an Alaska Airlines flight, again without any serious injuries. 

AFP
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With 2,400 staff representing 100 different nationalities, AFP covers the world as a leading global news agency. AFP provides fast, comprehensive and verified coverage of the issues affecting our daily lives.

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