CIS member states suffered 24 air transport accidents in 2002, 40% fewer than the previous year, according to the Interstate Aviation Committee (MAK). These included eight "catastrophes" or serious accidents in which a total of 175 people died, but this amounted to 25% fewer than in 2001 and none of the accidents involved scheduled passenger services.

The MAK traditionally assesses safety performance across the whole air transport sector, including light aviation and rotary-wing. Despite the fact that there were no accidents involving scheduled airline flights, the number of accidents involving non-scheduled operations rose by a factor of two, leading to the MAK's assessment of overall CIS flight safety as having achieved a "slight improvement" compared with 2001. However, that was mostly because of a dramatic improvement in rotary-wing figures.

The Russian Federation suffered 21 of the accidents, seven of them serious; Ukraine recorded one serious accident, and Azerbaijan and Moldova a non-fatal accident each. A causal breakdown shows that three events were due to technical failures, one to ATC error and one to birdstrike, and 18 to "human factors". Around 55% of all accidents happened outside CIS territory.

There were nine accidents involving large aircraft, three of them serious, causing the loss of 127 lives. Large aircraft in the CIS Class 1-3 category include turboprop aircraft like the Antonov An-26. Of the total number of accidents, seven were approach and landing incidents attributed to crew error, says the MAK.

In five of the approach and landing accidents, the pilot deviated laterally from the approach track or localiser and persisted in ignoring instructions to carry out a go-around.

A crash-landing of an Ilyushin Il-62M at Manas on 22 October resulted from a combination of factors, including bad weather and "numerous crew errors," not least of which was the crew selecting reverse thrust before landing and then attempting a go-around with it still engaged, says the MAK.

Source: Flight International