Ad hoc cargo operation in Africa is the most dangerous commercial aviation activity in the world, according to a report by the Netherlands National Aerospace Laboratory (NLR).

The study revealed a rate of 17 hull losses and/or fatal accidents per million flights in Africa. This, says the NLR, is "dramatically unsafe", at seven times the world average rate for scheduled passenger operations.

In a detailed study of cargo flights of all kinds, the NLR concludes that the accident rate in the cargo operations of major carriers is three times that for their passenger operations, and that the worst regions for freight operator safety, apart from Africa, are South America and Asia, with accident rates per million flights, respectively, of 9.02 and 6.16.

When the NLR examined the causes of freighter accidents they almost precisely followed the causal distribution for passenger operations. The difference is not in the kind of accidents that freighters have, the NLR reported, it is that they have them more often. The NLR notes that half of all cargo flights are at night.

Source: Flight International