June 12, 2013
Commercial aviation safety among EU operators and at European airports continues to improve in many key areas, including total fatal accidents and serious runway incursion rates, while total accidents edged upward, a new European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) report reveals.
EASA’s 2012 Annual Safety Review shows that EU operators were involved in 34 accidents in 2012, up from 30 in 2011 and an average of 25.2 for the 10 years ended in 2010.
There was one fatal accident, matching 2011’s total and coming in below the previous decade’s average of 3.4 fatal accidents per year.
Last year’s lone EASA commercial operator-related fatality occurred on Nov. 11, when a ground handler became trapped between a belt loader and the rear cargo door of a TAP Air Portugal Airbus A320 at Rome’s Fiumicino Airport. The last year with multiple fatal accidents involving EU commercial aircraft was 2007.
Airport safety within Europe is improving as well, the report suggests. EU airport design issues did not factor into a single accident or serious incident in 2012, after combining for 15 occurrences from 2008—the first year aerodrome data was included in the report—through 2011.
Runway excursions dipped to 17 in 2012 after averaging nearly 21 for the previous three years.
Ground collisions totaled four, just below the previous four years’ average and half of 2011’s total, while ramp accidents and serious incidents also totaled four, matching 2011’s total and coming in well below the four-year average of just under seven incidents per year.
Runway incursion rates, which EASA classifies as a subset of air traffic management occurrences and measures per million aircraft movements, showed mixed results in 2012. The occurrence rate for “serious” incidents dipped slightly year over year, while the rate of “major” incidents increased slightly. The report does not provide exact figures.