The commercial aviation accident rate sits at an all-time-record low of 2.1 accidents per million departures. The International Civil Aviation Organization’s (ICAO) 2017 Safety Report says both the number of commercial aviation accidents and the accident rate has decreased over the last five years.
According to the report, “The number of accidents per year has followed a downward trend over the 2012-16 time frame, from 98 accidents in 2012 to 75 in 2016.” Over the same period, the number of fatal accidents also decreased from 11 to seven. ICAO attributes the decrease to a combination of fewer accidents and an increase in commercial departures.
The annual publication identifies risk factors based on a causation analysis of all accidents occurring in the previous year. This year’s report identifies three high-risk accident occurrence categories: runway-safety-related events, loss of control in flight and controlled flight into terrain. Those three categories represent 61.3% of the total number of accidents, 50% of fatal accidents and 37.4% of all fatalities.
ICAO, in cooperation with the International Air Transport Association (IATA), harmonizes accident categories for scheduled and non-scheduled commercial operations (including ferry flights) for aircraft over 5,700 kg (12,565 lb.). The “Operational Damage” category—which includes “in-flight damage, foreign object debris and all system or component failures”—accounted for 16 of the 113 total accidents.