2009 was the year with the lowest number of fatal accidents on record for the 31 Member States of the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), according to preliminary data.
However this good safety record was overshadowed by the accident of an Airbus A330 over the Atlantic. This was the only fatal accident for aeroplanes registered in an EASA Member State in commercial air transport*. Despite this, the number of fatalities in 2009 (228 fatalities) is significantly above the decade average. The high number of non-fatal accidents (24) in 2009 indicates that further progress in safety is necessary. In comparison, the decade 1999-2008 had every year on average 27 non-fatal and 5 fatal accidents with 92 fatalities. For other world regions the safety record in 2009 has been marred by an accident of an Airbus A310 in Comoros and a Tu-154 in Iran. In total there were 41 fatal accidents involving aircraft registered outside EASA Member States. This is below the decade average of 51 fatal accidents (1999-2008), but not the lowest in the decade. In these accidents there were 573 fatalities, the second lowest number in the decade. Preliminary data shows that in 2009, the number of fatal accidents worldwide in commercial air transport with helicopters was the second lowest for the decade: only in the year 2000 the number of fatal accidents was lower. When looking at the three-year moving average, it appears that for the last five years the average is more or less constant. The accident numbers for EASA Member States remain small and no further conclusions can be drawn. Two fatal accidents occurred in Europe in 2009. Two people died in Poland when an emergency medical helicopter crashed. In April, sixteen people died when a helicopter crashed during an offshore flight from an oil platform to Aberdeen, Scotland. Further information on safety in civil aviation will be included in the Annual Safety Review 2009 due to be published by EASA later this year.