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Monday, April 21, 2008

NTSB: Airlines Post Remarkable Safety Record

From Air Safety Week

Kathryn Creedy

No one died during 2007 in U.S. scheduled long-haul and regional air carrier accidents, according to statistics released last week by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB). In addition, deaths in general aviation accidents dropped to 491, their lowest total in more than 40 years, according to federal air safety officials.
But on-demand aircraft – charters, air taxis and tours, and medical flights with a patient aboard – saw accident deaths jump from 16 in 2006 to 43 in 2007, according to preliminary annual figures from the board.
"The U.S. aviation industry has produced an admirable safety record in recent years," said NTSB Chair Mark V. Rosenker. "However, we must not become complacent. We must continue to take the lessons learned from our investigations and use them to create even safer skies for all aircraft operators and their passengers."
The NTSB figures show that Part 121 (aircraft with 10 or more seats) scheduled U.S. airlines flew 18.7 million hours in 2007 with 24 accidents, but no deaths. There was one fatality among nonscheduled U.S. carriers when a mechanic was fatally injured while working on a Boeing 737 in Tunica, MS last July. And Part 135 (fewer than ten seats) regional air carriers had three accidents in 302,000 hours of flight, but no loss of life.
On-demand carriers suffered 43 deaths in 62 accidents while conducting over 3.7 million flight hours. General aviation saw its accident fatalities go from 703 in 2006 to 491 in 2007. But during 23.8 million hours of private flying in 2007, the number of accidents rose to 1,631, from 1,518 in 2006.
Foreign registered aircraft accounted for 11 accidents in the U.S. in 2007, with 3 fatalities from a single fatal accident. Of the 14 accidents involving unregistered aircraft, 6 were fatal and resulted in 7 fatalities.
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