2021 was the safest year to fly since 2017, analysis shows
Far fewer people died in aviation tragedies in 2021 than the year before, an aviation safety review reveals.
Dutch Aviation Safety Council To70 reports that 81 people were killed in four fatal crashes around the world last year, up from 299 deaths in five crashes in 2020.
Relative to flight level, it has been the safest year in the world since 2017, with only one accident involving an airliner.
On January 9, 2021, Sriwijaya Air flight SJ182 took off from the Indonesian capital, Jakarta, to Pontianak on the island of Borneo.
But the Boeing 737-500 crashed in the Java Sea shortly after departure, resulting in the loss of all 62 passengers and crew.
The crash, which occurred near where Lion Air Flight 610 crashed on October 29, 2018, was blamed on a failure of the 26-year-old’s automatic throttle system.
The other three fatalities involved small passenger propeller planes in commercial service.
On March 2, 2021, 10 people died when a Let 410 belonging to South Sudan Supreme Airlines crashed in South Sudan. The accident was attributed to a mechanical problem.
The same type of aircraft was involved in the third crash on September 12 in Russia. Four people died when the Aeroservice Let 410 passed under the Kazatjinskoje runway in Siberia and struck trees during an approach in poor visibility. Twelve people, including the captain, survived.
On December 23 in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, a Shorts 360 belonging to Malu Aviation crashed shortly after take off from the eastern town of Shabunda.
There were 34 non-fatal accidents in 2021, one less than the previous year.
The fatality rate for large aircraft in commercial air transport is one in 5.3 million, up from one in 3.7 million in 2020. This is the lowest fatality rate since 2017.
Adrian Young, who wrote the review, called 2021 “another very difficult year for civil aviation.”
He said: “The continuing Covid crisis has resulted in the bankruptcy of more than a dozen airlines this year. Two standard bearers were among the victims; Air Namibia and Alitalia.
“Many airlines and airports have taken out loans or taken on additional debt to support themselves. Airports and their suppliers have also experienced a marked decline in flights, passengers and revenues.
“Problems related to refresher training after long periods of absence, to working in a period of underload – that is, not enough stimuli or motivation to function optimally – and the problems mental health issues are all factors that the industry is working to address. “
Mr Young warned that aviation incident data suggests that this lack of preparation or familiarity after periods of inactivity affects flight safety.
“We hope that efforts to minimize the new threats posed to civil aviation by this crisis are sufficiently suppressed by initiatives taken across the industry,” he said.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), about 1.3 million people die on the roads worldwide each year, a rate of 150 deaths per hour.
WHO says: “Road accidents cost most countries 3% of their gross domestic product.”