FSF Global Safety Report Highlights Runway Safety, Turbulence Risks

Turbulence, runway excursions and ground damage were the most common accident types among airliners operating globally in passenger and cargo service in 2022, according to Flight Safety Foundation’s 2022 Safety Report. The report, released today, is based on an analysis of preliminary accident data and information contained in the Foundation’s Aviation Safety Network (ASN) global database.

In releasing the report, the Foundation also launched a new, interactive dashboard featuring accident data and information from the past six years that is searchable by a range of parameters, such as type of operation, region of the world, phase of flight, and accident type or end state, such as turbulence, loss of control or controlled flight into terrain. 

In 2022, jet and turboprop aircraft certified to carry at least 14 passengers were involved in 115 accidents worldwide. Of those accidents, 16 were fatal accidents and resulted in 233 fatalities among passengers and crew and four people on the ground.

According to the ASN database, there were 22 turbulence-related accidents in 2022, marking the second year in a row that turbulence has been the most common accident type. Since 2017, there have been 104 turbulence-related accidents around the world. For the purposes of this analysis, the Foundation used the International Civil Aviation Organization’s accident definition, which includes events in which there are serious injuries or fatalities among passengers and crew, or the aircraft suffers substantial damage or structural failure.

“The number of turbulence-related accidents is likely just a small fraction of the turbulence events that operators experience during any given year,” said Foundation President and CEO Dr. Hassan Shahidi. “As we note in the report’s call to action, passengers need to recognize the importance of adhering to crew instructions to fasten their seat belts, and the industry needs to continue to improve its ability to detect turbulence and to share information about areas of turbulence.”

Shahidi also noted the number of runway excursion (16) and ground damage (14) accidents last year, and said it is important to focus on the safety of aircraft movements on runways and taxiways and in ramp areas. In January, the Foundation and its international partners began work on the Global Action Plan for the Prevention of Runway Incursions, which is expected to be completed later this year.

The 2022 Safety Report examines global airliner and corporate jet accidents that occurred in 2022 and in the five-year period from 2017 through 2021, but the report focuses on five high-risk accident types that accounted for the majority of accidents over the period under review: turbulence, runway excursions, ground damage, loss of control and controlled flight into terrain.

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