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2018 in Aviation Safety

Aviation is still a largely safe means of travel, but plane crash deaths unfortunately did rise in 2018.

According to the Aviation Safety Network, there were over 500 deaths arising from passenger airline crashes in 2018. This is compared to 13 deaths in 2017 arising from two fatal crashes worldwide, both on regional turboprop aircraft.

Dutch aviation consulting company TO70 estimated that the fatal accident rate for large commercial passenger flights last year was 0.36 per one million flights. That adds up to one fatal accident for every 3 million flights.

This is an impressive statistic, but it has still risen from the 0.06 per million flight rate in 2017. This is unfortunate given that, over the last twenty years, aviation deaths globally have been falling.

On the positive side, 2018 was still the third safest year in terms of the number of fatal accidents. It has also been the ninth safest year when you count deaths.

We explored some notable aircraft disasters throughout the year. We saw a brand new Lion Air plane crash only a few minutes after taking off. We saw an Aeromexico jet crash in Northern Mexico leaving scores injured. We also saw, strangely, a ground crew worker stealing an empty plane and carrying out stunts before plunging to his death.

Other disasters included a Cubana Boeing 737-201 crashing just outside Havana airport in Cuba, killing 112. A US-Bangla Airlines plane also crashed in Nepal.

Australian improvements in safety

It has been a busy year for the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA). In its December 2018 Briefing, the safety watchdog outlined some of its safety achievements in the aviation sphere.

The government agency improved aviation medical certification. From March 2018, Class 2 medicals were allowed for pilots operating some commercial flights that did not carry passengers. Further, a new category of “private pilot medical certificate (Basic Class 2)” was created .

Part 149 of the Civil Aviation Safety Regulations (CASR) was also formed in July 2018. CASR Part 149 outlines requirements for aviation administration organisations that are involved in sport and recreational activities.

CASA also finalised the transition process into new rules for new flying training regulations. There was also a transition process finalised to adopt new fatigue regulations.

“By far our most significant achievement in 2018 was the recent making of the six new operational Parts of the Civil Aviation Safety Regulations”, Shane Carmody, CEO of CASA, wrote in the Briefing.

There are still current consultations CASA has open, closing on various dates in January and February. You can view them here.

The world’s safest airlines in 2018

AirlineRatings.com delivered its opinions on the world’s safety airlines in 2018. It may have been premature, given the results were released in August 2018.

Amongst the top were Australian airlines Qantas and Virgin Australia. Alaska Airlines and Hawaiian are the only U.S. planes to make the top 20 list. KLM, Emirates, Singapore Airlines and Air New Zealand also made the list.

Avlaw Aviation Consulting wishes you a Happy New Year and safe flying for 2019.