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2 Feb, 2014

2013 Safest Year on Record for Scheduled International Aviation


MONTRÉAL, 17 January 2014 (ICAO media release) – Preliminary data released by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) has confirmed that 2013 was the safest year ever recorded in terms of fatalities for scheduled international air transport operations.

Although the number of fatal accidents involving scheduled commercial operations remained steady at nine during 2013, fatalities themselves were down a significant 53.5 per cent from 2012, dropping to only 173 compared to 372 the previous year. Using 2010 as a baseline, fatalities have fallen by a whopping 76 per cent and 2013 represents the third consecutive year in which air transport fatalities have continued to decrease.

“These results are no surprise given the level of commitment our sector demonstrates, year-in and year-out, to improving the safety of the global air transport network,” remarked ICAO Secretary General, Raymond Benjamin. “Recent years have seen a tremendous increase in the level of cooperation and partnership on aviation safety priorities and we are now seeing the fruits of these efforts born out by these remarkable 2013 outcomes.”

Using ICAO Regional Aviation Safety Group areas of responsibility as a basis for comparison, the Middle East had no fatal accidents, Africa and the Asia/Pacific each had one, Europe had two, and the Americas saw the highest number with a total of five fatal accidents in 2013. Also of note was that, of the nine total fatal accidents worldwide, seven occurred during the approach or go-around phases of flight.

“Safety is ICAO’s guiding and most fundamental Strategic Objective,” stressed Dr. Olumuyiwa Benard Aliu, President of the ICAO Council. “ICAO, together with a wide range of partnering organizations who are contributing to our cooperative international safety programmes, will continue to coordinate the investment and collaboration needed to ensure that air transport remains the safest means of rapidly moving people and goods worldwide.”

Background notes for editors and supplementary tables:

According to aircraft classification:

  • All statistics refer to scheduled commercial operations involving aircraft having a maximum takeoff weight (MTOW) above 5700 kg only.
  • 60 per cent of all fatalities were attributed to accidents involving narrow-body jet aircraft.
  • 37 per cent of all fatalities were attributed to accidents involving turboprop aircraft.
  • Three per cent of all fatalities were attributed to accidents involving wide-body jet aircraft.


Traffic Context

Based on preliminary data, the air transport system experienced a marginal overall increase of scheduled commercial departures in 2013 compared to the year before. The AFI and EUR RASG regions had a slight decrease in the number of departures and the APAC region had an increase. Both the PA and MID regions remained unchanged.

Universal Safety Oversight Audit Programme – Level of Effective Implementation

The world percentage of Effective Implementation of ICAO’s Safety Oversight Critical Elements by Member States rose from 61.1 to 61.7 between the beginning and end of 2013. In the RASG regions, AFI, MID and PA saw an increase in the EI, while APAC and EUR had a small decrease.