There were 12.2 fatalities per billion passengers in 2017, which the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) says is the lowest global fatality rate on record. The rate coincides with a continued downward trend for fatal accidents and fatalities over the last decade. The ICAO Annual Safety Report—which provides updates on global safety indicators—also indicates a decrease in the number of accidents attributable to system and component failures.
The annual publication identifies risk factors based on a causation analysis of all accidents—defined by ICAO as an occurrence involving a fatality, serious injury or aircraft component requiring major repair or replacement. As it did in 2017, ICAO determined the most high-risk categories to be runway safety-related events, loss of control in flight and controlled flight into terrain. Accidents attributable to those categories accounted for 58% of all accidents.
The data shows a decrease in accidents attributable to “operational damage,” or damage sustained by the aircraft while operating under its own power, to include inflight damage, foreign object debris and all system or component failures. Accidents attributable to this category accounted for 7.3% of all 2017 accidents, down from 14% in 2016.