In 2013, the world's airlines maintained the gentle safety improvement trend that has been visible for the last 10 years, but did not match the best-ever annual figure for the lowest number of fatal accidents.

The global total of fatal airline accidents last year was 26 – up by five from 2012's record low of 21. However, the number of fatalities in 2013's accidents, 281, set a new record low. The previous lowest figure was 425.

These figures include cargo as well as passenger flights and all types of genuine airline operation, whether scheduled or chartered. This includes commuter airline commercial operations using aircraft like the single-turboprop Cessna Caravan.

Among among large commercial passenger jets (5,500kg and above), there were only four fatal accidents worldwide. These killed 105 people.

The 2012 figures had broken safety records so convincingly that Flightglobal predicted they probably represented a one-year "spike". Perhaps they did, but it was not a dramatic one, given the good results for 2013.

Flightglobal will shortly publish a report by its advisory service Ascend titled Airline Safety & Losses: Annual Review 2013.

There will be further analysis of the significance of 2013 airline safety results on later this month, and in the 21-27 January issue of Flight International.

Source: Cirium Dashboard