Africa reported the world's highest rate of fatal aviation accidents in 2013.


New York (AirGuide - Inside Air Travel) - Mon, Jan 6, 2014

Africa once again reported the world's highest rate of fatal commercial aviation accidents in 2013, despite increased local and international efforts to improve air safety in the region. Africa has just 3% of global air traffic. But African crashes accounted for roughly 20% of the 29 accidents and 265 fatalities world-wide involving passenger and cargo planes designed to carry the equivalent of at least 14 passengers, according to an affiliate of the Flight Safety Foundation, an advocacy group for global aviation safety based in Alexandria, Va. There were six fatal crashes in Africa in 2013, compared with five the year before, according to the Aviation Safety Network, which released the year-end totals. The rolling four-year annual average of fatal crashes in the region remained at five, based on the ASN's latest data. Last year's tally includes crashes of three African passenger aircraft, the same number of passenger planes that went down in Russia or parts of the former Soviet Union combined-a region with twice as many departures as Africa. The numbers disappointed some leading aviation experts, who had anticipated improvement in the region's performance. "It's unfortunate that a lot of the effort" expended over the years to enhance air safety throughout Africa, "hasn't yielded the kind of return we had hoped to see," said Kevin Hiatt, president and chief executive of the Flight Safety Foundation. Once outside experts and consultants help devise a strategic plan for the region, Mr. Hiatt said on Sunday, "it doesn't seem like there is a lot of execution" by local governments or industry leaders. The next step may be to set up enhanced oversight to ensure "constant follow-ups and progress reports," said Mr. Hiatt, who in February takes over as the top safety official for the International Air Transport Association, the industry's leading global trade group. By contrast, the ASN summary indicates that global accident statistics continue to improve. With a total of 265 deaths last year from airliner accidents world-wide, it cites 2013 as "by far the safest year" ever in terms of commercial-aircraft fatalities. Like other industry experts that track safety trends, the report indicates 2013 nearly matched the record low global airline accident rate reported a year earlier. Passenger counts have been climbing steadily in a number of African countries as some economies...

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