2015 was an "extraordinarily" safe year for air travel, says IATA

But the aviation association's figures did not include the Germanwings or Metrojet disasters

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2015 was “an extraordinarily safe year” for air travel according to the International Air Transport Association, which revealed today that the number of air accidents - and resulting fatalities - was both down on the previous year, as well as considerably below the five-year average.

The IATA said that 68 accidents took place in the 2015 calendar year, down from 77 in 2014. Of the accidents recorded in 2015, only four proved fatal, compared to 12 in the 12 months of 2014. The annual average of accidents over the past five years was 90.

"In terms of the number of fatal accidents, it was an extraordinarily safe year," Tony Tyler, IATA's director general and chief executive officer, said in a statement.

According to the statement, 136 people lost their lives in aviation disasters, down from 641 in 2014 and the five-year average of 504. The figures represent data compiled from the IATA’s 260 member airlines, accounting for more than 80% of all air traffic on the planet.

The statistics, however, do not include the fatalities suffered in both March’s Germanwings’ crash and October’s Metrojet disaster, both of which were classified as deliberate acts of unlawful interference. In the former, German co-pilot Andreas Lubitz deliberately crashed the jet into the French Alps, while the latter, a Russian jet which exploded over the Sinai peninsula, is suspected to have been brought down by a bomb smuggled on board.

If the passenger and crew losses of these two are included in the figures, the total number of deaths in 2015 is recorded as 510, according to the IATA.

"While there are no easy solutions to the mental health and security issues that were exposed in these tragedies, aviation continues to work to minimise the risk that such events will happen again," said Tyler.

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