NEW YORK--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Despite record numbers of more than four billion passengers, the global airline industry has experienced some of its safest years in terms of fatal accidents, according to Aviation Risk 2020: Safety And The State Of The Nation published by the corporate and aviation insurance specialist Allianz Global Corporate & Specialty (AGCS) in association with Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, the largest, fully accredited university specializing in aviation and aerospace.
The report, which analyzes more than 50,000 aviation insurance industry claims worth more than $16.3bn from 2013 to 20181, reveals that collision/crash incidents currently account for over half the value of all claims (57%) equivalent to $9.3bn – and over a quarter of claims by number (27%). More costly grounding and business interruption incidents resulting from cyber and drone events and more incidences of turbulence are just some of the trends expected to have an influence on the loss landscape.
A broad range of safety improvements
Three of the past four years have been the safest ever for air travel. In 2017, for the first time in at least 60 years of aviation, there were no fatalities on a passenger jet flight, making it the safest year ever. Even 2018, which saw a total of 15 fatal airliner accidents with 556 victims, ranks as the third safest year ever, according to statistics from the Aviation Safety Network2, with 2015 ranked second. The lifetime chances of a person dying in a commercial aviation accident are extremely unlikely compared with other forms of transport such as by car or bicycle, as well as more unexpected scenarios such as accidental gun discharge or dog attack.
“The continuous improvement in aviation safety can be attributed to several factors, including design improvements, new technologies, more effective pilot training as well as significant improvements in manufacturing processes, aircraft operations and regulation,” explains Tom Fadden, Global Head of Aviation, AGCS.
Aerodynamic and airframe improvements, fly-by-wire aircraft and more effective safety inspections have had a dramatic impact on accident rates over the past decades. At the same time, engine manufacturers have almost eliminated the chance of engine failure. Radio and avionics are extremely precise today and improved air traffic control technology and better collision systems have also had a positive impact.
“Pilots now have much more live information at their fingertips while current navigation systems have the capability to determine an aircraft’s position to the thousandths of a mile,” says E. David Williams, Assistant Professor of Aerospace and Occupational Safety at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. “Improvements in science have also allowed the aviation industry to better understand how human factors can affect safety. Pilot fatigue, training, crew resource management and other factors have become increasingly important issues.”
The report also highlights a range of emerging risk scenarios, including:
- The projected demand for about 800,000 new pilots over the next 20 years – double the current workforce – brings challenges in recruitment and training, particularly in flight schools.
- Pilots’ overreliance on aircraft automation systems have resulted in accidents, highlighting the need for pilots to be better prepared to take manual corrective actions in event of technical malfunction.
- Incidences of turbulence are predicted to increase due to climate change with the North Atlantic flight passageway anticipated to see the greatest increase. Extreme turbulence can cause structural damage to aircraft, which can cost millions of dollars.
- The growing number of drones in the skies and cyber risks such as hacker attacks, systems outages and data breaches are also expected to have a significant impact on the aviation loss landscape.
- Accidents-on-the-ground remain problematic and could exacerbate. In many cases, airport infrastructure has not kept pace with the rapid growth in passenger and aircraft numbers. Crowded servicing areas and aprons are resulting in more collisions and ramp accidents. It is anticipated that the vast majority of the world’s busiest airports will likely see capacity issues within 10 years.
About Allianz Global Corporate & Specialty
Allianz Global Corporate & Specialty (AGCS) is a leading global corporate insurance carrier and a key business unit of Allianz Group. We provide risk consultancy, Property-Casualty insurance solutions and alternative risk transfer for a wide spectrum of commercial, corporate and specialty risks across 12 dedicated lines of business.
Our customers are as diverse as business can be, ranging from Fortune Global 500 companies to small businesses, and private individuals. Among them are not only the world’s largest consumer brands, tech companies and the global aviation and shipping industry, but also wineries, satellite operators or Hollywood film productions. They all look to AGCS for smart answers to their largest and most complex risks in a dynamic, multinational business environment and trust us to deliver an outstanding claims experience.
Worldwide, AGCS operates with its own teams in 33 countries and through the Allianz Group network and partners in over 200 countries and territories, employing over 4,400 people. As one of the largest Property-Casualty units of Allianz Group, we are backed by strong and stable financial ratings. In 2018, AGCS generated a total of €8.2 billion gross premium globally.
About Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University
Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University teaches the science, practice, and business of the world of aviation and aerospace. Since its foundation in 1925, 22 years after the Wright brothers’ first flight, the university and its graduates have built an enviable record of achievement in every aspect of aviation and aerospace. The curriculum at Embry-Riddle covers the operation, engineering, research, manufacturing, marketing, and management of modern aircraft and the systems that support them. The university engages in extensive research and consulting that address the unique needs of aviation, aerospace, and related industries.
For more information please visit: http://www.erau.edu
1 Between July 1, 2013 and December 31, 2018
2 Aviation Safety Network releases 2018 airliner accident statistics, January 2019