In its recently published Annual Safety Review, EASA confirms that 2010 is "the first year that no fatal accident in commercial air transport operations occurred in the history of aviation in Europe both for helicopter and aeroplane operations".
In global terms, the accident rate in aviation has been declining steadily ever since the 1950s.
In 2000, the concern was that, even with that encouraging trend, the growth of the airline industry would result in an absolute increase in the number of fatal accidents occurring each year.
Improvements in overall safety, and the reduction in the accident rate seen in the period 2002-2007 can be attributed to safety enhancements made possible by digital technology such as FDM, ACAS, TAWS, and others. In recent years, however, it appears that the accident rate has again levelled out.
For large commercial airliners, a small number of accidents account for the majority of fatalities each year.