Civil Aviation Sees Big Drop in Accident Rate in 2021

 - August 19, 2022, 9:12 AM

A newly released report from the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) shows a 9.8 percent decrease in the global accident rate for last year versus 2020, dropping from 2.14 to 1.93 per million departures.  Fatalities fell by 66 percent compared with the number reported in 2020, though the number of accidents where fatalities occurred remained consistent at four.  The report covers all aircraft used in scheduled commercial operations with a certified maximum take-off weight (mtow) of more than 5,700 kg, which includes virtually all passenger, cargo, and business jets in use today.

“These outcomes are very positive and encouraging, and reconfirm that air transport is the safest mode of transport even during the current global circumstances,” said ICAO Secretary General Juan Carlos Salazar. “Scheduled commercial flight departures in 2021 increased by almost 11%, but even despite these millions of more flights amidst restart and recovery resource shortages and the many other operational challenges facing airline and airport operators today, air transport’s collective and longstanding commitment to the safety, security, and health of passengers and crew remains unwavering.”

 ICAO Council president Salvatore Sciacchitano attributed the improvements at least partly to the pandemic response and recovery recommendations made by the Council’s Aviation Recovery Task Force (CART) and to the Safety Stream commitments adopted by states at the ICAO High-level Conference on COVID-19 (HLCC) held last October.

 The 2022 Safety Report also stresses that ICAO works in closer partnership today with the whole international aviation community to achieve future safety improvements. The United Nations’ civil aviation arm has emphasized improved standardization, implementation, and monitoring as key contributors to the improved safety performance and reduced operational safety risk.

 The 2022 edition of the ICAO Safety Report provides updates for the ICAO 2020-2022 Global Aviation Safety Plan (GASP) indicators linked to its Goal 1, which focuses on achieving a continuous global reduction of operational safety risks and related targets.

This week, ICAO also released its 2022 Environment Report, entitled Innovation for a Green Transition. The 376-page document provides an update on the UN body's Long-Term Aspirational Goal for carbon dioxide reductions, which is due to be considered during the 41st Session of the ICAO Assembly to be held in Montreal next month. According to Jane Hupe, ICAO deputy director for environment, the report's findings mean that, "all ICAO member states now have a solid basis for understanding and decision making on long-term sustainability goal options for international aviation."