While 2017 was considered the safest year ever in commercial aviation history, Europe’s aviation safety regulator warns that 2018 served as a reminder that safety should never be taken for granted.
The European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) reports that worldwide in 2018 there were 530 fatalities in 11 fatal accidents, a tally that has set the industry back to a level not experienced since 2015.
The detailed figures for Europe show that there were no fatal accidents in commercial airline operations involving an operator from the EASA member states. However, there was one fatal accident in commercial operations, which was a Junkers JU-52 that crashed in elevated terrain in the Alps of Switzerland on 4 August with the loss of 20 lives. This accident involved a historic aircraft built in 1939, although the aircraft was undertaking a commercial flight it was a unique event compared with traditional airline operations.
The following fatal accidents occurred during 2018:
11 February – An148 crashed during climb out near Dergayevo, Russia, with 71 fatalities
18 February – ATR72 crashed into the Dena Mountains, Iran, with 66 fatalities
11 March – CL600 crashed in mountainous terrain in bad weather conditions near Shahr-e
Kord, Iran, with 11 fatalities
12 March – DHC8 overran the runway and fell down a slope at Kathmandu-Tribhuvan
Airport, with 51 fatalities
17 April – B737 experienced a sudden decompression due to an uncontained engine failure,
NW of Philadelphia, USA, fatally injuring a passenger.
18 May – B737 lost height shortly after take-off and crashed, with 112 fatalities
4 August – JU-52 accident in elevated terrain (Alps, Switzerland) for as yet unknown reason,
with 20 fatalities
28 September – B737 short landing in a lagoon during an attempted landing in stormy
weather, 1 fatality
28 October – B737 crashed into the sea soon after take-off with 189 fatalities
9 November – B757 overran the runway on landing at Georgetown, Guyana, with 1 fatality.
20 December – An26 crashed on approach to Kinshasa airport with 7 fatalities
EASA said its key message is that the industry should never be complacent with safety and that it will persist in its efforts to protect passengers and citizens both in Europe and throughout the world through collaborative efforts to identify and mitigate risk effectively.
Over the past five years between 2014 and 2018, EASA said accidents and serious incidents involving large aircraft commercial air transport operations most commonly involved the following key risk areas, otherwise known as potential accident outcomes:
– Aircraft Upset.
– Runway Excursions.
– Technical Faults relating to Aircraft Pressurisation or Fire.
These are reflected in the European strategic safety priorities that are identified in the European Plan for Aviation Safety (EPAS). The EPAS identifies both the accident outcomes that we are looking to prevent and the safety issues that need to be addressed through mitigating actions.