IATA Safety Report 2023

Knowledge / April 11, 2024

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) recently published their annual Safety Report for the 60th time – celebrating a milestone anniversary. The 2023 edition of the report offers valuable insights into the current aviation safety landscape. With this article, we want to give you an overview of the key takeaways and also point out IATA’s recommendations to further improve the industry’s safety record.
Record-Low Fatality Rate in 2023
The IATA Safety Report 2023 ushers in positive news, presenting a significant decline in airplane accident fatalities. The industry achieved a remarkable feat in 2023 – the lowest overall fatality rate ever recorded at a mere 0.03 per million sectors. This statistic translates to 72 fatalities stemming from a single accident in 2023, a substantial improvement compared to 2022’s figures of 158 fatalities across five accidents.

While IOSA members had more accidents in 2023 than in 2022, their accident rate actually improved. In 2022, the accident rate was 0.74 per million sectors, while in 2023 it went down to 0.69 per million sectors. IOSA members also continued to have a better safety record than non-IOSA members (0.69 vs. 1.08). Even though there were more accidents, none of the 19 accidents involving IOSA members resulted in aircraft losses or passenger/crew deaths. 

Predominant Causes of Airplane Accidents in 2023
While the industry celebrates this progress, the report also sheds some light on areas requiring sustained focus. The analysis reveals that more than half of the accidents that occurred between 2014 and 2023 transpired during takeoff and landing phases. This underscores the critical nature of these flight stages and necessitates ongoing vigilance during these particularly demanding maneuvers. Pilots face challenges in these critical phases, including managing the aircraft’s configuration, navigating correctly, communicating clearly with air traffic control, and working effectively as a crew. 

Several 2023 accidents highlight other contributing factors like disobeying established procedures (SOPs), abnormal runway contacts, pilot errors during manual flying, bad weather, aircraft problems, and a lack of cross-checking.

“The aviation industry needs to collaborate to deliver safety enhancements through improved training, technological advancements, effective inflight decision-making and the implementation of CRM. In addition, fostering a positive safety culture is critical.”

IATA Safety Report 2023, Executive Summary, page 6
Enhancing Safety Through Continuous Improvement
The report identifies several key areas where targeted interventions can further enhance aviation safety. These areas include:

  • Improving communication: Clear and concise communication between pilots, air traffic controllers, and ground crew is paramount for safe flight operations. The report recommends initiatives that promote effective communication protocols.
  • Mitigating crew errors: Human error remains a contributing factor in a significant portion of aviation accidents. IATA emphasizes the importance of ongoing crew training and the implementation of safety measures that reduce the likelihood of crew mistakes.
  • Enhancing technology: Technological advancements play a crucial role in safeguarding air travel. We expect that Artificial Intelligence (AI) applications will play a major role in the near future
  • Addressing weather hazards:  Takeoff and landing phases are statistically the most dangerous parts of a flight, and bad weather conditions can significantly increase risks. The report suggests continued investment in meteorological technologies and procedures to improve situational awareness for pilots during these critical stages of flight.

SMS as a Prerequisite for Improvement
It is important to note that these suggested interventions are most effective when implemented within a robust Safety Management System (SMS) such as iQSMS. An SMS provides a structured approach to proactively identifying safety hazards, assessing their risks, and implementing mitigating actions. By fostering a culture of safety, a well-functioning SMS empowers all stakeholders to play an active role in preventing accidents. With iQSMS, we equip our customers to implement a powerful SMS, ultimately minimizing safety risks and maximizing operational efficiency. If you want to find out how iQSMS can support your organization, you can find an overview of all modules here: https://asqs.net/iqsms/
The IATA Safety Report 2023 paints an optimistic picture of the aviation industry’s safety performance. The record-low fatality rate in 2023 serves as a testament to the industry’s commitment to safety. However, the report also highlights the need for continued vigilance. While 2023 was a banner year for aviation safety, the industry needs to remain focused on continuous improvement.


If you want to explore the full IATA Safety Report, visit: https://www.iata.org/en/publications/safety-report/

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