David Learmount/LONDON

Airline hull and liability losses worldwide totalled $1.9 billion last year, according to initial estimates by UK-based international insurance loss adjuster Airclaims. The figure is in line with a steady upward trend from $500 million in 1980, although it is only marginally above that for 1999.

Airclaims estimates major liability losses at $735 million in 2000, against a peak of $1.07 billion in 1996, when the figure was inflated by the mid-air explosion off Long Island, New York, of a Trans World Airlines Boeing 747 (liabilities are exceptionally high for US losses).

The cost of major hull losses is put at $848 million, down from just over $1 billion the previous year. The figure, nevertheless, is only a small blip in a general upward trend in hull losses, which have risen from just over $200 million in 1980.

Last year saw 23 fatal accidents involving passengers on revenue flights in aircraft with over 15 seats (excluding Aeroflot and former Aeroflot carriers), say Airclaims, up from 20 in 1999, confirming that the trend towards a reduction in fatal accident numbers is slowing.

Passenger fatalities, at 1,010, were nearly double those in 1999, although the figure remains below the annual average for the 1990s as a whole. The risk to individual passengers on Western-built jets in 2000 remained at less than 0.4 fatalities per million air travellers.

Source: Flight International