Accidents: first six months of 2009 show safety has stopped improving

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Global airline fatal accident numbers for the first six months of 2009 confirm that airline safety has stopped improving and, at best, has flattened out for the last few years.

The number of fatal airline accidents between 1 January and 30 June 2009, at 13, is slightly below the average for the first half of each year in the past 10 years, which stands at 14.8. The same comparison for the number of fatalities is less good: there were 499 to 30 June this year against an average of 344 for the first six months of each year in the last decade.

The number of fatalities to 30 June is the highest since 2002, mainly because two accidents involved widebodies, and between them they accounted for 381 of the total 499 deaths. All on board the Air France A330-200 were killed when it went missing over mid-Atlantic, and there was only a single survivor from the Yemenia A310-300 crash on approach to Moroni in the Comoros Islands.