2017 was one of the safest years for commercial aviation, with only six fatal accidents and 19 victims. But in the first five months of 2018, the statistics already include five incidents of this type and 300 people who have lost their lives. Despite that, IATA claims air safety is increasing.

According to the "Security Update" report, presented during the 74th General Assembly of the International Air Transport Association (IATA), held in Sydney, Australia, the number of accidents last year is the lowest since 2005.

The cases registered between January and May, 2018, represent 11.11% of the 45 accidents in 2017, but had many more fatalities. Three propulsion and two turboprop aircraft were involved in the accidents this year.

On February 11, 2018, a Saratov Airlines regional Antonov 148 jet crashed shortly after take-off from Moscow’s Domodedovo airport, carrying 65 passengers and six cabin crew on board. All of the 71 passengers and crew were found dead. The cause of the crash is still being investigated by authorities. First results point at an incomplete pre-flight check up, resulting in the heating system of the Pitot probes not being activated.

On February 18, 2018, an ATR 72 operated by the Iranian company Aseman Airlines was on its way from Tehran to Yasuj and was about to land. It crashed in a mountainous area at about 4.000 meters of altitude, killing the 66 passengers. While the investigation is still ongoing, first reports of the Iran’s accident investigation bureau indicate that the pilots failed to maintain a safe altitude during their approach towards Yasuj airport.

On March 12, 2018, a US-Bangla Bombardier Dash 8 Q400 coming from Dacca to Kathmandu crashed at the airport. 51 people, including the crew, died, 20 passengers survived with serious injuries. First reports indicate that the plane landed from the wrong direction of the landing strip, went off runway and crashed before catching fire.

On April 17, 2018, a Southwest Boeing 737-700 en route from New York LaGuardia (LGA) to Dallas Love Field (DAL) made an emergency landing at Philadelphia International Airport (PHL). The aircraft suffered a failure of its CFM56 engine. Debris damaged the side of the fuselage and cracked a window, fatally injuring one passenger and wounding seven others.

The latest accident was the crash of a Cubana de Aviacion Boeing 737-200 XA-UHZ on May 18, 2018, in Havana (Cuba), which resulted in 110  deaths. The aircraft was leased from the Mexican company Global Air. The reason of the accident is currently under investigation.

IATA claims air safety is increasing

Gilberto López Meyer, vice president of Air Safety and Flight Operations of IATA, who presented the report, considers that the annual results on air accidents do not mark a trend by themselves; but it is necessary to consider the figures of at least five years to have an overview of the behavior of the industry.

"A year with more accidents does not mean that the general trend has worsened permanently," said the vice president of IATA, adding "this year, unfortunately, it has been a complicated year and we are collecting information about what has happened to try to learn and look for alternatives."

In its presentation, the international body stressed that since 2012 there has been a downward trend in the number of aviation accidents. The airlines associated with IATA show the lowest average, with 0.50 accidents per million.

In 2017 there were 45 accidents, of which only six had fatal victims, adding up to 19 people who lost their lives. Of the total, four occurred in turbine aircraft and nine in turbo-fuel aircraft, according to the report of the international organization.