IATA releases 2021 airline safety performance data

IATA releases 2021 airline safety performance data

Figures show a decline in the number of accidents and improved key safety metrics for commercial airlines

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) released 2021 safety performance data for the commercial airline industry showing strong improvement in several areas compared to both the previous year, 2020, and the past five-year period from 2017 to 2021

Speaking about the findings, IATA director general Willie Walsh said: “Safety is always our highest priority. The severe reduction in flight numbers last year compared to the five-year average magnified the impact of each accident when we calculate rates. Yet, in the face of numerous operational challenges in 2021, the industry improved in several key safety metrics. At the same time, it is clear that we have much work ahead of us to bring all regions and types of operations up to global levels of safety performance.”

The overall increase in the fatality risk and fatal accidents in 2021 is owing to the rise in turboprop accidents. A turboprop engine is a turbine engine that drives an aircraft propeller.

There was one fatal accident involving jet aircraft last year and the jet fatality risk in 2021 was 0.04 per million sectors, an improvement over the five-year average of 0.06.


For perspective, the overall fatality risk means that, on average, a person would need to take a flight every day for 10,078 years to be involved in an accident with at least one fatality. 

Five regions showed improvement or no deterioration in the rate of turboprop hull losses in 2021 when compared to the five-year average. The only regions to see increases compared to the five-year average were Africa and the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS). 

Originally formed of 11 countries (Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kirghizstan, Moldavia, Uzbekistan, Russia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine), Georgia joined the CIS in December 1993.

Although sectors flown by turboprop aircraft represented just 10.99% of total, accidents involving turboprop aircraft represented 50% of all accidents, 86% of fatal accidents and 49% of fatalities in 2021.

“Turboprop operations will be a focus area to identify ways and means to reduce the number of incidents related to certain aircraft types,” concluded Walsh.

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