The International Air Transport Association (IATA) is bullish about air passenger numbers and believes that over the next 20 years these are likely to increase by double the numbers recorded in 2017, which have been put at about four billion.
In other words, IATA believes that by 2036, an additional 3.8 billion air travellers would be recorded across the global aviation industry and the association wants all stakeholders to follow global standards and make greater use of operational data to safely accommodate this additional numbers.
Alexander de Junaic, IATA’s director general and chief executive officer, said in a statement issued in Montreal, Canada, that it would be a massive undertaking to manage this expected growth, while making aviation even safer than it is already.
De Juniac noted that 2017 was a very strong year for safety with no fatal accidents involving jet passenger aircraft.
He said the fatal accident rate was 0.14 per million flights, the equivalent of one fatal accident for every 6.7 million flights, according to IATA’s 2017 Safety Report.
He stated that: “If we look at it another way, using fatality risk on average, a person would have to travel by air every day for 6,033 years before experiencing an accident in which at least one passenger was killed.
“Yet we still have accidents, so we know there is room for improvement because each fatality is a tragedy and that rededicates everyone in the aviation industry to our common goal of having every flight take-off and land safely”.
De Juniac said global standards and best practices were vital to sustaining safety improvements as demonstrated by the performance of airlines on the IATA Operational Safety Audit (IOSA) registry.
He explained that over the last five years, the accident rate for airlines on the IOSA registry had been nearly three times better than for non-IOSA compliant airlines.
According to him, to ensure that IOSA delivers even greater value in the future, it is undergoing a digital transformation.
“Introducing automated advanced business analytics to the IOSA process will enable better management of resources, the ability to measure the effectiveness of standards, and an enhanced level of quality assurance.
“Digital transformation also will enable more seamless interaction on industry safety initiatives, standards and operational practices, as well as bench-marking,” he said.
De Juniac said future safety advances would depend on achieving a better understanding why more than 100,000 flights were being operated safely everyday through analysis of flight information and other data resources.
He disclosed that IATA’s Global Aviation Data Management (GADM) initiative was a crucial part of the effort to encourage the greater use of data by the operators.
The programme, according to him, now includes information from over 470 organisations, while over 90 per cent of IATA members are contributing to at least one of the GADM databases.
De Juniac said IATA was developing a global database of turbulence reports to provide airlines with an enhanced situational awareness tool.
According to him, when this innovative turbulence data repository becomes operational in early 2019, IATA will see a significant decrease in turbulence-related injuries.