The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has published its 2023 Annual Safety Report for global aviation, showing that last year was the safest for flying “by several parameters”.

Data shows that there were no hull losses or fatal accidents involving passenger jet aircraft in 2023, and a single fatal accident involving a turboprop aircraft – a loss-of-control accident in Nepal in January 2023 which resulted in 72 fatalities.

This compares to five fatal accidents in 2022, and an improvement on the five-year average (2019-2023) which also stood at five.

The accident rate in 2023 was 0.80 per million sectors (equating to one accident for every 1.26 million flights), an improvement from 1.30 in 2022 and the lowest rate in over a decade.

And the fatality risk improved to 0.03 in 2023 from 0.11 in 2022 and 0.11 for the five years, 2019-2023.

IATA said this meant that on average a person would have to travel by air every day for 103,239 years to experience a fatal accident.

Europe has had a fatality risk of zero since 2018, with the largest proportion of accidents related to landing gear collapses.

Data for the Safety Report is collected through IATA’s Global Aviation Data Management (GADM) programme, comprising accident and incident reports, ground damage occurrences and flight data from more than 470 different industry participants.

Commenting on the news Willie Walsh, IATA’s director general, said:

“2023 safety performance continues to demonstrate that flying is the safest mode of transport. Aviation places its highest priority on safety and that shows in the 2023 performance. Jet operations saw no hull losses or fatalities.

“2023 also saw the lowest fatality risk and ‘all accident’ rate on record. A single fatal turboprop accident with 72 fatalities, however, reminds us that we can never take safety for granted.

“And two high profile accidents in the first month of 2024 show that, even if flying is among the safest activities a person can do, there is always room to improve. This is what we have done throughout our history. And we will continue to make flying ever safer.

“Safety enhancements and the prevention of future accidents stem from learning from past incidents. For airlines, this means cultivating a robust safety culture where every employee feels accountable for safety and is motivated and expected to report safety-related information.

“For states, it involves providing timely, comprehensive, and public accident reports. Out of 226 accidents in the past six years, only 121 final accident reports have been made available. This shortfall is not only a blatant disregard for the Chicago Convention but also undermines the safety of our passengers and crew. Governments and their agencies must step up their efforts.”