The number of serious airline accidents so far this year is "average", but if there are any more before January it will slip below the global average, according to the Flight Safety Foundation.
Speaking at the foundation's International Aviation Safety Seminar in Milan, FSF director of technical programmes Jim Burin showed that all the indicators confirm that airline safety has stagnated. The five-year running annual average for serious accidents involving Western-built jets bottomed in 2006. Since then it has been rising slowly.
So far in 2010 the FSF says there have been 17 serious airline jet accidents globally, of which 14 occurred during approach and landing. This reverses a gradual improvement in statistics for this phase of flight since the FSF began its approach and landing accident reduction programme in the 1990s.
There have also been two controlled flight into terrain accidents, two loss of control crashes, and five major runway excursion accidents.
But Buring notes that it has been a safe year for turboprop operators, for the first time recording fewer major accidents (15) than did jets in airline service.