Despite the surge of the aviation industry last year as it was still on the recovery curve from the pandemic, 2023 marked one of history’s safest years yet, as no large turbofan-powered aircraft were involved in any major fatal accidents. Only two propeller aircraft incidents occurred, leading to less than half the fatalities compared to 2022. However, some incidents have led people to question general air safety and international cooperation.
With a fatal accident rate of less than one in 15 million flights, 2023 scored three times better than the 10-year average. “Both the number of accidents and fatalities are at a record low”, said Senior aviation consultant Adrian Young, who put together a civil aviation safety review for the Dutch air-safety organisation To70. “As the new year dawns and we look back across 2023, civil aviation finds itself in a similar position to 2017 with no fatal accidents to large turbofan powered, passenger aeroplanes in commercial service.”
However, that does not mean that there were no fatalities in the aviation industry. On 15 January 2023, the ATR-72 plane belonging to Yeti Airlines crashed one mile from the runway on its flight from Kathmandu to Pokhara in Nepal, leading to 72 deaths. On 16 September 2023, an Embraer 110 from Manaus Airlines crashed on a flight from the Amazonian city to Barcelos, leading to 14 deaths.
“Regardless of how low the accident rate in 2023 has been, there is no cause for complacency. Aviation remains a risk-laden industry and as airports around the world report that movements are reaching the same level as in 2019, before the Covid-19 crisis, a number of issues have not gone away. Serious injuries due to turbulence remain an ever-present factor in the year’s accidents”, Young cautioned.
With the 10th anniversary of two major fatal incidents including Boeing 777 aircraft belonging to Malaysia Airlines (MH370 and MH17) coming up in 2024, vigilance certainly remains recommended.