Thursday, April 17, 2008

NTSB: Aviation Accident Statistics for 2007

NTSB logoThe U.S. National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has compiled aviation accident statistics for 2007 and released the figures to the public. Overall, the statistical picture is positive for commercial aviation in the U.S., and particularly for airlines operating under 14 CFR Part 121.

Scheduled airlines operating under 14 CFR Part 121 had only 24 accidents in 2007, none of which resulted in a fatality. Considering that scheduled Part 121 carriers made a total of 10,720,000 departures, and flew a combined total of 18,700,000 hours, according to NTSB figures, that would mean that U.S. airlines had 0.224 accidents per 100,000 departures, and 0.128 accidents for every 100,000 flight hours.

In contrast, non-scheduled airlines operating under Part 121 had two accidents and one fatality, but since they flew fewer hours and operated fewer departures, the actual rates were substantially higher than for the scheduled airlines. Non-scheduled Part 121 carriers logged a combined total of 180,000 departures, and 605,000 flight hours. That means that the non-scheduled airlines had an accident rate of 1.111 per 100,000 departures, and 0.331 per 100,000 flight hours.

The worst accident rates among U.S. commercial carriers were for on-demand carriers operating under 14 CFR Part 135. Those carriers had 62 accidents, 14 of which resulted in at least one fatality. Total 2007 flight hours for Part 135 on-demand carriers, estimated by the FAA's General Aviation and Air Taxi Activity and Avionics (GAATAA) Survey, were 3,668,000 hours. Thus, the accident rate in 2007 for these carriers was 1.69 per 100,000 flight hours. This is a higher rate than that for Part 121 carriers, yet it is still far below the rate for General Aviation, which was 6.84 accidents per 100,000 flight hours. General aviation also had a fatality rate of 1.19 for every 100,000 flight hours.

Clearly, commercial aviation continues to be a safe means of transportation, prompting NTSB chairman Mark V. Rosenker to say, "The U.S. aviation industry has produced an admirable safety record in recent years. However, we must not become complacent. We must continue to take the lessons learned from our investigations and use them to create even safer skies for all aircraft operators and their passengers."

If you feel like crunching some of these numbers yourself, you can click here for the 2007 accident and fatality statistics, or go to the NTSB Aviation Accident Statistics page for lots more data, covering the past 10 years.