2011: safest year on record for air travel and for insurers, lowest claims for seven years, says Ascend
London, New York, Hong Kong, Tokyo, 3 January 2012 – Fatal accident and passenger fatality rates were the lowest on record last year, according to Ascend.
In addition, it was a good year for insurers: with no major catastrophes in the sky or on the ground. The estimated cost of incurred hull and liability losses in 2011 is not much more than half that recorded in 2010 – the lowest for seven years.
Ascend’s Director of Safety Paul Hayes says, “It’s the safest year ever. Airlines are getting safer – and more quickly than they’re expanding. On average, overall airline operations are now twice as safe as they were 15 years ago.”
Hayes adds, “For insurers, passenger safety doesn’t necessarily equate to low claims; however, in 2011 it did. The cost of incurred airline hull and legal liability losses for 2011 is about US$1.18 billion – some US$966 million less than in 2010.
“We see the low level of incurred loss in 2011 as very much a mixed blessing. Most insurers will probably have made money this year, but that only begins to make up for a number of bad years they’ve had recently and it is sure to increase the pressure for insurance rate reductions.”
In Ascend’s special bulletin: Performance and Safety Review Year End 2011, Hayes says that, “with estimated claims costs exceeding written premium over the last five years and current interest rates limiting investment income, there would seem to be little chance that the class as a whole is profitable, especially after the deduction of operating costs. Increasing costs, falling premiums and the ever-present risk of a catastrophic loss occurring do not suggest a healthy outlook for airline insurers in 2012. But it is likely that 2011’s good result will increase pressure for further rate reductions in 2012.”
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Notes to editors
The worst accidents in 2011 were:
1) The Hewa Bora Airways Boeing 727-100 crash on July 8, which killed 79 passengers and four crew (33 passengers and two crew survived) when it undershot on landing at Kisangani, DR Congo.
2) The Iran Air Boeing 727-200Adv on January 9, which apparently stalled during a go-around at Orumiyeh, Iran killing 69 passengers and nine crew out of the 95 passengers and 10 crew on board.
3) The Rusair Tupolev TU134, on June 20, which crashed while attempting to land at Petrozavodsk, Russia, killing 37 passengers and eight crew.
4) The Yak Service Yakovlev YAK42 on September 9, which crashed on take-off from Yaroslavl, Russia killing all 37 passengers and seven of the eight crew.
5) The AirZena Bombardier CRJ 100ER on April 4, which crashed on landing at Kinshasa, DR Congo killing 28 passengers and four crew.
These five accidents account for a total of 250 passenger fatalities, 62% of the total number of passenger fatalities on revenue passenger flights during the year.
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