Air safety figures show the jet crash rates increased last year although 3.8 billion passengers travelled safely.

Figures released by the International Air Transport Association show there were 10 fatal accidents last year in which 268 people died, down from an average of 13.4 fatal crashes during the preceding five years which killed 371 people a year.

But the 2016 jet hull loss rate for association member airlines was 0.35 (one accident for every 2.86 million flights). This was up from the 0.22 accidents per million flights achieved the year before.

Most accidents happened when aircraft run off runways although these generally result in fewer fatalities.

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In 2015 there were just four accidents resulting in passenger fatalities in 2015, all of which involved turboprop aircraft, with 136 fatalities.

Last year's all accident rate (measured in accidents per 1 million flights) was 1.61, an improvement from 1.79 in 2015.

The 2016 major jet accident rate (measured in hull losses per 1 million flights) was 0.39, which was the equivalent of one major accident for every 2.56 million flights.

This was not as good as the rate of 0.32 achieved in 2015 and was also above the five-year rate (2011-2015) of 0.36.

IATA's Director General and CEO, Alexandre de Juniac, said flying was becoming safer.

"We did take a step back on some key parameters from the exceptional performance of 2015 - however, flying is still the safest form of long distance travel," he said.

"Last year some 3.8 billion travellers flew safely on 40.4 million flights - flying is still the safest form of long distance travel."

The world turboprop hull loss rate improved to 1.15 hull losses per million flights in 2016 compared to 1.18 in 2015 and the five-year rate (2011-2015) of 2.84.

IATA represents 265 airlines comprising 83 per cent of global air traffic and the accident figures cover scheduled passenger or charter flights and cargo services.

Executive jet operations, training, maintenance and test flights are all excluded.

Hull lose rates have fallen in Africa, the Asia Pacific and Russian states but were up Europe, the Middle East, Latin America and North America.

A hull loss is when major structural damage occurs exceeding US$1 million (NZ$1.44m) or 10 per cent of the aircraft's hull reserve value, whichever is lower.

The association is concerned about the carriage of lithium ion batteries and wants consistent rules around the use of drones.