MONTREAL, 29 MARCH 2010 –A High-Level Safety Conference hosted by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) that opened today stressed the need for greater transparency and sharing of safety-related information among ICAO Member States and air transport industry stakeholders as the basis for a new global strategy to significantly improve aviation safety around the world.
In his opening address, the President of the Council of ICAO, Roberto Kobeh González, said that while the number of fatal accidents and associated fatalities had consistently dropped over the past decade or so, despite an increase in traffic, it is essential to reduce regional differences in safety that continue to exist.
“Our task is now to develop and implement more flexibility and targeted strategies to help States with specific challenges in reducing their accident rates and thereby contribute to an even safer global air transport system, while at the same time reinforcing safety in others,” he told a group of some 600 Ministers and Directors General of Civil Aviation of ICAO Member States, as well as industry stakeholders, at the Organization’s headquarters in Montréal.
Mr. Kobeh called for the Conference to agree on ways to complement the Organization’s prescriptive-based methodology with a proactive, performance-based approach to help reduce accident rates from their present levels.
“The new way of doing business will allow proactive identification and response to emerging safety issues before they result in accidents or incidents,” he explained. “This involves understanding the risks associated with the many facets of today’s complex aviation system through transparency and sharing of information.”
In the first presentation of the Conference, ICAO Air Navigation Bureau Director, Nancy Graham, detailed progress made against the Organization’s Global Aviation Safety Plan’s three major objectives.
Reduction in the number of fatal accidents and related fatalities worldwide
Significant progress was made as fatal accidents involving civil aircraft over 2,250 kilograms (usually seven passengers or more) declined from 26 in 2000 to 14 in 2009, while the number of fatalities over the same period dropped from 955 to 654.
Significant reductions in the global accident rate
At approximately 4 accidents per million flights and 0.62 fatal accidents per million flights, rates are low but unfortunately stable given the anticipated increase in traffic in the coming decade and beyond, which could translate into a potential increase in accidents.
No Region to have an accident rate more than double the world average
Significant variances remain unacceptably high, with one region over twice the global average.
The Conference concludes Thursday with the adoption of recommendations on the next steps for global aviation safety.
All Conference documentation is available on the ICAO website at: