This year's global hull loss accident rate to the end of the third quarter - if projected to 31 December - would show the first rise in the annual serious accident rate since 1998, according to the International Air Transport Association. If there are any more hull losses before the year-end, the picture will worsen.
IATA figures for global hull loss accident rates to western-built jet airliners over the last decade show them peaking in 1998 at 1.34 hull losses per million departures. Since then, the rate has shown a steady decrease until 2006, when it bottomed at 0.65 hull losses per million departures.
IATA now reveals that, despite industry-wide measures to improve safety, at the end of 2007's third quarter the rate was 0.83 hull losses per million departures.
There have been no further losses since 30 September, and if that is still true at the year-end, it will reduce the rate below the third-quarter figure. But IATA safety chief Mike O'Brien says he is not sure they can equal the 2006 best-ever rate.
Worse accident rates in the North Asian, Asia Pacific, sub-Saharan African and Latin American regions have had a detrimental effect on the world airline accident rate despite a dramatic improvement in CIS crash rates since a disastrous performance in 2006, according to IATA's analysis.