IATA has underlined concern over lack of adequate access to aircraft accident inquiries, suggesting that over two-thirds of investigation reports might be unavailable

The association's Accident Classification Task Force has conducted a study into the situation, and claims that – of some 1,000 accidents in the space of the last decade – only 300 accident reports are available.

"Of those, many had room for improvement," IATA director general Alexandre de Juniac told an industry event in Seoul during the last week of April.

He said that, while the number of accidents has been falling, the number of investigations "may be declining at a faster rate".

De Juniac credits the task force for its efforts to "elevate this concern", without singling out any particular region or specific accident.

Nor has he given an opinion on the reasons behind the absence of so many inquiry documents, or whether there is a correlation between this absence and the air safety statistics of the region responsible.

But the task force's chairman, Dieter Reisinger, says the situation is present in "too much of the world" and the lack of "timely and thorough" reporting is "frustrating".

IATA uses analysis by national investigation authorities to compile its own assessment of the state of air transport safety.

Over the course of 2016 the accident rate per million flights in sub-Saharan Africa – historically a poor performer – significantly improved, to 2.3, compared with 2.8 in Latin America and 3.85 in the former Soviet states.

North America and Europe achieved rates of 0.94 and 1.25 respectively. IATA recorded a figure of 2.05 for the Asia-Pacific region.

But while recording the absolute number of accidents is relatively simple, IATA aims to analyse the trends in circumstances and contributory elements, and this aspect becomes increasingly difficult without access to in-depth inquiry data.

"Not only are accident investigations not conducted but, were it not for the manufacturers and public sources, [we] would not have enough factual information to derive meaningful safety statistics," says Reisinger.

Information obtained through such inquiries is "essential", he stresses: "The travelling public has a right to know and the industry can only learn and improve if such information is made publicly available."

The task force has previously recommended that ICAO maintain close ties with countries which are unable to conduct adequate investigations.

Reisinger adds that ICAO should consider "taking the lead" to identify specific regions which could benefit from support in this area.

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Source: Cirium Dashboard