There have been nine fatal airline accidents and 341 fatalities in the year to 30 June, compared with 18 fatal accidents and 716 fatalities by the same stage in 2002 (Flight International, 30 July-5 August 2002).

All the crashes, except a commuter aircraft accident in the USA, were in developing countries or others with weak economies. Unlike last year's first half, no widebodies were involved in fatal accidents during the first six months of 2003.

The worst single accident in the first six months was an Air Algerie Boeing 737-200 crash on a domestic flight, in which 97 passengers and six crew died, but the year's second half has already - with Sudan Airways' 737-200 crash - produced a worse outcome with 116 fatalities.

Next week's issue of Flight International will contain more detailed figures and an analysis of airline safety in the first six months of 2003.

Source: Flight International