With 2 Weeks to Go, 2011 Safest Commercial Aviation Year on Record

Commercial aviation continued a trend toward fewer accidents and higher safety records in 2011 The Los Angeles Times reports.

So far, 2011 has been the safest year ever in commercial aviation history with fewer than 500 fatalities worldwide.

The global accident rate for January through November was 22% better than the same time last year and marked the safest period since a United Nations aviation agency began collecting data in 1945, according to the International Air Transport Assn., an airline trade group that issued a report based on the U.N. data.

Globally, there were 486 passenger and crew fatalities in the first 11 months of the year, down from 784 fatalities in the same period last year, according to the trade group. In the first 11 months of 2011, the accident rate was 2.16 per million passenger takeoffs, down from 2.78 per million in the same period last year.

Air travel has been getting safer over the last decade as new technologies and better training have led to a decrease in accidents. Last year there were zero commercial aviation fatalities in western countries.

Perry Flint, a spokesman for the trade group, said he didn’t know why the first 11 months were so safe but added that several changes over the years have improved overall aviation safety.

For example, Flint said, manufacturers now build more reliable airplanes that include backup safety systems. He added that more countries are adopting international safety standards and annual safety audits.

“In general,” he said, “the safety trend line is moving in the right direction.”

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