The US Federal Aviation Administration says the number of fatal general aviation accidents in fiscal 2007 decreased by 5%, down to 314 from 331 in fiscal year 2006.

The agency says the number of people killed in those crashes, which include privately flown aircraft and non-scheduled air taxi flights, also decreased, from 676 in fiscal 2006 to 564 in the past 12 months.

"This record is due to a dedicated commitment to safety by everyone in general aviation," says FAA associate administrator for aviation safety Nicholas Sabatini.

"In particular, manufacturers are providing sophisticated technology like GPS and glass cockpits - and the training to go with them - and the FAA is vigorously encouraging adoption of these safety enhancements."

Turbine-powered business aircraft were involved in 12 fatal accidents that killed 33 people in the first nine months of this year, according to statistics compiled by safety analyst Robert Breiling Associates.

This compares with five accidents and 30 fatalities during the same period in 2006, says the Boca Raton, Florida-based company.

Aircraft operated under Federal Aviation Regulations Part 91, governing corporate and private operations, and subpart K for fractionals, had an unblemished record for the nine months, while Part 135 operators, including air taxi companies, saw accidents climb from 15 to 21 during the same period.