Global airline safety has stagnated, according to fatal accident figures from 2008. Following a decade of steady improvement, last year's results confirm that airline fatal accident numbers have levelled out or worsened since 2003.
Flight International's 20-26 January issue will provide full details and analysis of airline safety performance in 2008, but the simple figures paint the picture: in 2003 there were 27 fatal airline accidents causing 702 deaths, and in 2008 the respective figures were 34 fatal accidents and 583 deaths. In the interim years the figures show the trend for both the fatal accident numbers and the fatalities total are tracking the horizontal almost precisely. Although the number of deaths last year was relatively low at 583, the best result in the last decade was 466 in 2004.
The Flight International figures list jet, turboprop and piston-powered airline operations, both scheduled and chartered, and take into account fatal accidents to pure freight and positioning flights as well as passenger operations.