A Statistical Analysis by Airbus - NEW 2016 EDITION
Publishing a yearly brochure on commercial aviation accident statistics is a challenge that deserves some explanation. Of course, the figures for the latest year are new. But it raises some fundamental questions:
- Can we draw any safety lesson or devise any safety strategy from the latest year’s figures?
- Is there any significant change to the rest of the statistics that is worth specific action?
In both cases, the answer is NO. Therefore, why do it? This question gives rise to a number of answers, not all very convincing or satisfactory: because others do it, because people love figures, because people expect it…
Keeping in mind that our ultimate goal is to enhance safety, it is worth rewording the question and wonder: in what respect can accident statistics help to enhance safety? What can they tell us about safety? What can they not tell us about safety?
Most of the time statistics prove to be rather counter intuitive, just as probabilities. It is often even worse when it comes to rare events which are governed by “the law of small numbers”. Fortunately, this is the case of aviation accidents. They are very rare events.
Publishing a yearly accident statistics brochure is an opportunity to discuss what these figures tell us or not and why.
Scope of the Brochure
- All western-built commercial air transport jets above 40 passengers.
The following aircraft are included in the statistics: 328 JET, A300, A300-600, A310, A318/319/320/321, A330, A340, A350, A380, Avro RJ series, B707, B717, B720, B727, B737, B747, B757, B767, B777, B787, BAC -111, BAE 146, Bombardier CRJ series, Caravelle, Comet, Concorde, Convair 880/990, DC-8,DC-9, DC-10, Embraer E series, Embraer ERJ series, F-28, F-70, F-100, L-1011, MD-11, MD-80/90, Mercure, Trident, VC-10, VFW 614.
Note: non-western-built jets are excluded due to lack of information and business jets are not considered due to their peculiar operating environment.
- Since 1958, the advent of commercial jets
- Revenue flights
- Operational accidents
- Hull loss and fatal types of accidents
- Revenue flight: flight involving the transport of passengers, cargo or mail for renumeration or hire. Non revenue flight like training, ferry, positionning, demonstration, maintenance, acceptance and test flights are excluded.
- Operational accident: an accident taking place between the time any person boards the aircraft with the intention of flight until such time as all such persons have disembarked, excluding sabotage, military actions, terrorism, suicide and the like.
- Hull loss: an event in which the aircraft is destroyed or substantially damaged beyond economical repair.
- Fatal accident: an event in which at least one person is fatally or seriously injured as a result of:
- Being in the aircraft, or
- Direct contact with any part of the aircraft, including parts which havebecome detached from the aircraft, or
- Direct exposure to jet blast, except when the injuries are from natural causes, self-inflicted or inflicted by other persons, or when the injuries are to stowaways hiding outside the areas normally available to the passengers and crew.
Source of Data
• The accident data was extracted from official accident reports, as well as from the ICAO, Ascend and Airbus data bases.
• Flight operations data were extracted from the Ascend data base.