There was one side benefit of less crowded skies and vacant airport
parking slots during Covid. Fewer accidents in the air and none on the
For the first time in more than 15 years, there were no
runway/taxiway excursion accidents. No planes bumping into each other;
no aircraft wings saying "G’day, mate, but I was on the runway first,"
and no air traffic control bloopers.
Reassuringly, there was just one accident in 99 million flights in 2021, and IATA hopes it stays that way.
“The severe reduction in flight numbers last year compared to the
5-year average magnified the impact of each accident when we calculate
“Yet, in the face of numerous operational challenges in 2021, the
industry improved in several key safety metrics,” said IATA director
general, Willie Walsh.
Walsh said areas of concern remain. Airlines based in sub-Saharan
Africa experienced four accidents in 2021, all with turboprop aircraft,
three of which resulted in 18 fatalities.
“It is clear that we have much work ahead of us to bring all regions
and types of operations up to global levels of safety performance,”
Some figures for the record: There was one fatal accident involving
jet aircraft last year and the jet fatality risk in 2021 was 0.04 per
million sectors, an improvement over the 5-year average of 0.06.
If you were flying an IATA member airline in 2021, your fatality risk
was 0.00. The overall fatality risk figure, including non-IATA member
airlines, was 0.23.