With some 58 million jobs across the globe and $2.4 trillion in economic activity dependent on the aviation sector, its safety is critical to the health of the global economy. It is estimated over a third of the value of goods traded internationally are delivered by air. Moreover the industry is growing.
By 2050 it is estimated that some 16 billion passengers – equivalent to more than double the current global population of around seven billion – will need to be flown yearly, an anticipated increase of 384% compared with the 3.3 billion passengers expected to fly during 2014. In 1960 just 106 million passengers flew worldwide. In 2014, 50 million tons of freight will be flown across almost 50,000 routes. By 2050 this is expected to increase significantly to 400 million tons.
Aviation incidents will always captivate both media and public attention as 2014’s tragic and extraordinary activity has demonstrated – by the end of August three of the 10 major non-natural catastrophe insurance losses of 2014 could be attributed to plane crashes. However, the recent air disasters don’t necessarily reflect any major systemic problems with safety. This year’s loss activity is contrary to the low catastrophe rate of recent years with 2012 ranked as the safest year of flying since the beginning of the jet age in 1952.
Although the aviation sector has experienced robust growth since the dawn of this era, the past 60 years have seen an ongoing decline in fatal accidents, underpinned by a continuous improvement in safety.