Last year was one of the safest for air travel but airline industry statistics exclude two major crashes as they were the result of deliberate acts or unlawful interference.

International Air Transport Association figures show the 2015 global jet accident rate (measured in hull losses per 1 million flights) was 0.32, which was the equivalent of one major accident for every 3.1 million flights.

This was not as good as the rate of 0.27 achieved in 2014 but a 30 per cent improvement compared to the previous five-year rate (2010-2014) of 0.46 hull loss accidents per million jet flights.

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Two deliberate acts were excluded - the crash of Germanwings after a suicidal pilot flew into the French Alps and Metrojet, an international chartered passenger flight operated by a Russian airline that was appraently downed by a bomb in the Sinai. The crashes claimed the lives of 374 people.

IATA's director general Tony Tyler said 2015 was a year of contrasts.

"In terms of the number of fatal accidents, it was an extraordinarily safe year. And the long-term trend data show us that flying is getting even safer. Yet we were all shocked and horrified by two deliberate acts--the destruction of Germanwings 9525 and Metrojet 9268. While there are no easy solutions to the mental health and security issues that were exposed in these tragedies, aviation continues to work to minimise the risk that such events will happen again,"

There were four accidents resulting in passenger fatalities last year all of which involved turboprop aircraft, with 136 fatalities.

In terms of the number of fatal accidents, it was an extraordinarily safe year. And the long-term trend data show us that flying is getting even safer.

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This compares with an average of 17.6 fatal accidents and 504 fatalities per year in the previous five-year period (2010-2014).

The 2015 jet hull loss rate for members of IATA was 0.22 (one accident for every 4.5 million flights), which outperformed the global rate (that includes all airlines) by 31 per cent

IATA said that more than 3.5 billion people flew safely on 37.6 million flights (31.4 million by jet, 6.2 million by turboprop)

There were 136 fatalities compared to 641 fatalities in 2014 and the five-year average of 504.

Including those who lost their lives in Germanwings 9525 and Metrojet 9268, the 2015 figure was 510.

Jet hull loss rates by region:

All regions but one (North America) saw their safety performance improve in 2015 compared to the respective five-year rate 2010-2014, as follows:

3. Africa (3.49 compared to a five-year rate of 3.69)
4. Asia-Pacific (0.21 compared to 0.56)
5. CIS (1.88 compared to 3.14)
6. Europe (0.15 compared to 0.18)
7. Latin America and the Caribbean (0.39 compared to 0.92)
8. Middle East-North Africa (0.00 compared to 1.00)
9. North America (0.32 compared to 0.13)
10. North Asia (0.00 compared to a 0.06).