Africa’s air safety last year was better than over the five-year period 2010–2014, the International Air Transport Association (Iata) reported recently. While the hull loss rate for jet airliners was down, that for turboprop airliners showed a dramatic decline. The jet hull loss rate in Africa in 2015 was 3.49 per million flights, compared with a rate of 3.69 for 2010–2014, while the turboprop hull loss rate was 4.53, compared with 18.20 for the preceding five-year period. There were four commercial hull loss accidents in sub-Saharan Africa last year. Two involved jets and two involved turboprops. Neither jet accident saw any fatalities, nor did one of the turboprop losses. Unfortunately, the other turboprop loss did result in fatalities. In addition, there were two accidents involving jet aircraft in the region which did not result in hull losses but did cause fatalities. In the Democratic Republic of the Congo, a runway excursion by a freighter aircraft caused eight fatalities on the ground. Over Senegal, an airliner collided with a smaller jet serving as an air ambulance while the airliner suffered only moderate damage and nobody onboard suffered any injuries, the smaller jet disappeared (its wreckage has not yet been found) and is considered lost and all seven people onboard are presumed dead.
“African safety is moving in the right direction,” affirmed Iata director-general and CEO Tony Tyler. “In 2015, we saw improvements, compared to the five-year accident rate for both jet and turboprop hull losses. Nevertheless, challenges to bringing Africa in line with global performance remain. One valuable tool to assist this effort is Iosa (Iata Operational Safety Audit). The 32 sub-Saharan Africa airlines on the Iosa registry are performing 3.5 times better than non-Iosa operators in terms of all accidents (3.62 per million flights versus 12.99). States should make Iosa a part of the certification process.” “Governments in the region also need to accelerate implementation of International Civil Aviation Organisation’s safety-related standards and recommended practices (SARPS), according to the Universal Safety Oversight Audit Programme,” he added. “As of the end of January 2016, only 21 African States had accomplished at least 60% of implementation of the SARPS.” Worldwide, the jet hull loss rate last year was 0.32, which was up on the 0.27 of 2014 but still 30% better than the figure of 0.46 for the five-year period 2010–2014.
A loss rate of 0.32 works out to one air accident every 3.1-million flights. Iata member airlines suffered a jet hull loss rate was 0.22 (or one accident for every 4.5-million flights). This was in accord with the 0.21 figure for 2010–2014 but up on the 2014 figure of 0.12. However, the Iata loss rate was 31% better than the global rate. All 262 Iata member airlines have to be on the Iosa registry (another 146 airlines which are not Iata members are also on the Iosa registry). Regarding turboprops, the hull loss rate in 2015 was 1.29 per million flights. This was a significant improvement on the 3.95 figure for 2010–2014. Regarding the other regions, last year, Asia-Pacific had a jet hull loss rate of 0.21, the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS – former Soviet Union, except the Baltic States) 1.88, Europe 0.15, Latin America and the Caribbean 0.39, the Middle East and North Africa 0.00 (yes, zero), North America 0.32 and North Asia also 0.00. The turboprop hull loss rate for Asia-Pacific was 2.07, for CIS 0.00, for Europe also 0.00, for Latin America and the Caribbean also 0.00, for the Middle East and North Africa also 0.00, for North America 0.51 and for North Asia 25.19.
Two points: the five-year 2010–2014 average for turboprop hull loss rates for the CIS was 17.83, so that region also enjoyed a significant safety improvement; and, as there are relatively few turboprop flights in North Asia, a small number of accidents there cause a big increase in the statistics. It should be noted that the loss last year of Germanwings Flight 9525 and Metrojet Flight 9268, which together cost 374 lives, are not classified as accidents, as they were deliberately perpetrated. Flight 9525 was crashed by its suicidal copilot and Flight 9268 was destroyed by a terrorist bomb.