Despite the two famous crashes of Malaysia Airlines aircraft, which cost the lives of hundred of passengers, 2014 was the safest year for commercial aviation in history.
The number of fatal accidents in 2014 decreased to an all-time low, compared to the number of flights, but more people died in those accidents than the average recorded in recent years.
According to the International Air Transport Association (IATA), the data collected from more than 250 airlines in 2014 suggests that “flying continues to improve its safety performance”.
The annual safety report says that last year there were 12 fatal accidents, and 641 people lost their lives, compared to the average of 19 fatal accidents and 517 deaths per year recorded between 2009 and 2013.
The data reveals that one accident occurs, in average, at every 4.4 million flights, at a rate of 0.23 per million flights. The figure is smaller than 2013’s, which stood at 0.41, while the five-year average was was 0.58 crashes per million flights.
The statistics do not include the case of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17. The plane was shut down by an anti-aircraft missile over Ukraine, and it was not classified as an accident.
Tony Tyler, IATA’s director general, said in a statement that “regardless of how it’s classified, the MH17 crashing was a tragedy”, but even if it was included in the statistics, the number of accidents in 2014 would still be fewer than in the previous year.
The loss of MH17 and it’s 298 passengers and crew is an “unacceptable act of aggression”, Tyler added, and the aviation industry is trying to cut it’s risks of flying-over conflict zones.
The disappearance of Malaysya Flight MH370 was the other high-profile event of 2014. The flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing disappeared a year ago with it’s 239 passengers and crew. The mystery still surrounds the accident.
In spite of a huge search operation in the southern Indian Ocean, where the Boeing 777-200ER diverted from its original path, there is still no sign of the plane that went missing on March 8, 2014.
The case of MH370 prompted changes in regulations for commercial aircraft, which have to report their position at shorter intervals of 15 minutes, instead of the former norm of 30 minutes.
This measure was put forward by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and will be implemented in December 2015. It will improve the tracking of commercial aircraft and aims to find remote crash sites faster.
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