The European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) released its Annual Safety Report (ASR), highlighting that there has not been a major accident involving European airlines over the last six years, including 2022.
“Last year, the world, and air transport, began its journey to recovery after the unprecedented challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic,” a forward penned by Patrick Ky, the executive director at EASA, said.
Publishing the report in the summer of 2023, when traffic is at around 93% of pre-pandemic levels, Ky highlighted that the resurgence “is a testament to the resilience and adaptability of the aviation industry, and underlines that citizens still have a strong desire to travel by air, which remains the safest form of transport”.
“It brings me immense satisfaction to recognise that there have been no major accidents involving European operators for many years, and the safety record of aviation continues to be exemplary,” the executive director continued, adding that this has been a collective effort from every stakeholder in aviation.
At the same time, Ky warned that even if there have not been any major accidents in Europe, it “should not blind us to possible threats”.
“We were fortunate that last summer’s difficult operating situation did not lead to safety issues,” Ky added, noting that, regrettably, there are around 12 to 13 fatal commercial airline accidents yearly.
In total, EASA Member States (MS) had 615 Air Operator Certificate’s (AOC), with 6,623 commercial air transport (CAT) aircraft registered by the end of 2022. In comparison, there were 585 AOCs and 7,017 CAT planes in 2019.
During 2022, there was a single fatal accident involving CAT aircraft, with EASA clarifying the incident “was a collision on the runway with a motorcycle in Guinea, with two fatalities on the ground.”
At the time, a TAP Air Portugal Airbus A320neo, registered as CS-TVI, hit the motorcycle as it was attempting to cross the runway at Conakry International Airport (CKY).
There were 13 non-fatal accidents and 51 serious incidents compared to 162 and 672 non-fatal accidents and serious incidents, respectively, between 2012 and 2021.
The serious incident rate has continued to decrease between 2019, when EASA first started recording it, and 2022, with the rate going down from 11.5 per million departures in 2019 to 9.6 per million departures in 2022.
However, in 2021, there were 15.8 serious incidents per million departures in 2021.
The accident rate dropped to 2.6 per million departures in 2022, compared to the 3.9 per million departures rate in 2021. In 2019 and 2020, the accident rate per million departures was 3.0 and 2.2, respectively.
EASA further highlighted that a greater number of accidents and serious incidents occurred during the en-route and landing, approach, and take-off phases of flight in 2022, with there being 15 en-route and 15 landing accidents and serious incidents during the year.
60 of those accidents and serious incidents involved passenger aircraft, while only four were recorded relating to cargo operations in 2022.