Africa records six accidents in 2020 —IATA

THE International Air Transport Association (IATA) has released its 2020 Safety Report and data for the 2020 safety performance of the commercial airline industry, announcing a decrease in the number of accidents from 52 in 2019 to 38 in 2020.

The report disclosed that African airlines based in sub-Saharan Africa experienced six accidents in 2020, two of which were fatal with both involving turboprop aircraft.

“This is the same number of fatal accidents that occurred in 2019; nevertheless the fatality risk increased owing to the fact that there were fewer flights last year. There were no hull loss accidents involving jet aircraft in 2020, IATA Director-General, Alexandre de Juniac said.

Declaring that focus in Africa continued to be on accelerating the implementation of the International Civil Aviation Organisation’s (ICAO) safety-related standards and recommended practices (SARPS), IATA stated at year-end 2020, some 28 African countries representing 61 per cent of the total had at least 60 per cent SARPS implementation, unchanged from 2019.

While the report declared that the total number of fatal accidents decreased from eight in 2019 to five in 2020, the association stated that all accident rate was 1.71 accidents per million flights, a figure higher than the five-year (2016-2020) average rate which is 1.38 accidents per million flights.

According to IATA, “with a fatality risk of 0.13 for air travel, on average, a person would have to travel by air every day for 461 years before experiencing an accident with at least one fatality. On average, a person would have to travel every day for 20,932 years to experience a 100 per cent fatal accident.”

Commenting on the development, the IATA DG said “Flying is safe, although the industry did take a step back on performance in 2020. The severe reduction in flight numbers magnified the impact of each accident when we calculate rates. But numbers don’t lie, and we will not allow this to become a trend. We will have even sharper focus on safety during this period of reduced operations and as flight schedules are rebuilt when the full operations reopen globally.

“For the first time in more than 15 years there were no Loss of Control Inflight (LOC-I) accidents, which have accounted for the largest share of fatalities since 2016.

“The lack of any such events in 2020 was a positive development. Nevertheless, based on the initial reports from the investigation into the tragic loss of Sriwijaya Air SJ 182 early in 2021, we must continue to learn and improve.”


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