The number of fatal aircraft accidents has declined in recent years, but incidents related to collisions on the ground or with birds are on the rise and are costing more and more insurance, according to a study released Tuesday.
Despite the two accidents of Boeing 737 MAX in Indonesia (October 2018) and Ethiopia (March 2019), which caused 346 deaths in total, aviation safety has never been so high, says aviation branch of the insurer Allianz ( GATS) in the “Aviation Risk 2020” report produced in collaboration with the American Aeronautical University Embry-Riddle.
No one was killed in a plane crash in 2017 and while 556 fatalities in 15 accidents in 2018, that year remains the third best in aviation history in terms of the number of accidents.
But the claims reported by this study, which cover the years 2013 to 2018 and therefore exclude the crash of March 2019, however, show incidents rising.
“Air casualties are increasing in frequency and severity because of rising aircraft values, the cost of repairs, and the amount of damages awarded to victims,” said Dave Warfel, North America director at AGCS.
14.8 billion compensation
During this period, 51,867 claims amounting to more than 14.8 billion euros, collisions and accidents accounted for one quarter of claims (27%) and more than half in value (57%) , followed by faulty maintenance work (12% in value) and equipment failure (6%).
Collisions include hard landings, bird strikes, and ground track errors. The latter can lead an aircraft to hit ground equipment or another plane, as was the case between two Airbus A330 Delta Airlines and Air France Roissy on 25 October.
Some 470 ground track errors were identified between 2013 and 2018 at a cost of more than 800 million euros. This is particularly due to the increasing congestion of airports, which are struggling to keep up with the growth of air transport, say the authors of the study.
Avian collisions, which can cause significant damage to an engine or windshield, accounted for $ 330 million and more than 1,000 claims during the period. If the average cost of a collision with a bird is 327,000 euros, it can go up to 16 million.
For the United States alone, an average of 40 bird collisions are recorded daily.