IATA releases 2022 airline safety performance data

Close-up of jet undercarriage.
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Airline safety: The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has released its 2022 Safety Report for global aviation. The report showed a reduction in both the number of fatal accidents and the fatality risk, compared to 2021 and to the five-year average (2018-2022).

From this year, the IATA Safety Report has been re-invented as an online interactive resource rather than in static PDF format.

Some of the key takeaways with respect to airline safety from the 2022 IATA Report are as follows.


In 2022, there were five fatal accidents involving loss of life to passengers and crew. This is reduced from seven in 2021 and an improvement on the five-year average (2018-2022) which was also seven.

The fatal accident rate improved to 0.16 per million sectors for 2022, from 0.27 per million sectors in 2021, and also was ahead of the five-year fatal accident rate of 0.20.

The all accident rate was 1.21 per million sectors, a reduction compared to the rate of 1.26 accidents for the five years 2018-2022, but an increase compared to 1.13 accidents per million sectors in 2021.

The fatality risk declined to 0.11 from 0.23 in 2021 and 0.13 for the five years, 2018-2022. All

IATA observations

IATA has noted the positive outcome with respect to airline safety; reflected in lower accidents numbers for 2022. It points to a need for additional focus on turboprop operations for the African and Latin American regions.

“Accidents are rare in aviation. There were five fatal accidents among 32.2 million flights in 2022. That tells us that flying is among the safest activities in which a person can engage. But even though the risk of flying is exceptionally low, it is not risk-free.”

“Careful analysis of the trends that are emerging even at these very high levels of safety is what will make flying even safer.”

“This year’s report, for example, tells us that we need to make some special efforts on turboprop operations in Africa and Latin America.”

“Safety is aviation’s highest priority, and our goal is to have every flight take off and land safely regardless of region or aircraft type,” said Willie Walsh, IATA’s Director General.

Fatality Risk

Put into perspective, the industry fatality risk of 0.11 means that on average, a person would need to take a flight every day for 25,214 years to experience a 100% fatal accident.

This is an improvement over the five-year fatality rate (which would average out to 22,116 years).

Rise in fatalities

Despite the reduction in the number of fatal accidents, it should be pointed out that the number of fatalities rose from 121 in 2021 to 158 in 2022.

The reason for this fact is, the majority of fatalities in 2022 occurred in a single aircraft accident in China that claimed the lives of 132 persons. The aircraft was operated by China Eastern Yunnan Airlines, a subsidiary of China Eastern Airlines. 

The airline involved was not an IATA member but is on the IATA Operational Safety Audit (IOSA) registry.

The next largest loss of life occurred in an accident to an IATA member – Precision Air – in Tanzania that resulted in 19 fatalities.

Jet losses

The global average jet hull loss rate rose slightly in 2022 compared to the five-year average (2018-2022). Five regions saw improvements, or no deterioration, compared to the five-year average.

Turboprop losses

The number of turboprop accidents declined in 2022 compared to 2021 but they accounted for four of the five fatal accidents last year with loss of life to passengers and crew onboard.

Although sectors flown by turboprops represented just 10.6% of the total, turboprops were involved in 36% of all accidents, 80% of fatal accidents and 16% of fatalities in 2022.

“Both sub-Saharan Africa and Latin America saw increases in turboprop accidents last year. Introduction and adherence to global standards (including IOSA) are key to reversing this trend.”

“The priority for Africa continues to be implementation of the International Civil Aviation Organization’s (ICAO) safety-related standards and recommended practices (SARPS),” said Walsh.

At year-end 2022, some 28 African countries (61%) had an Effective Implementation (EI) rate of ICAO SARPS of 60% or greater, unchanged from 2021. Increased attention is being placed to address the critical elements of the ICAO SARPS.

By Len Varley - Assistant Editor 5 Min Read
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