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Video - Aircraft accident: IATA criteria under the microscope

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With 136 victims and only four fatal aircraft accidents in 2015, figures from the International Air Transport Association (IATA) beat all established records in aviation safety. Yet, in these statistics, the heavy human toll of 374 victims, caused by the Germanwings and Metrojet crashes, is not taken into account - for the following reasons.

This annual report is an overview of aviation safety, but not of aviation security; and that makes all the difference. IATA has defined three main criteria for an air accident in order for it to be considered as such, together with the numbers of victims directly concerned.

Firstly, IATA takes into consideration only "unintentional" accidents, which are not related to deliberate acts, such as those of suicidal pilots or terrorism. Collateral, or indirect victims of a plane crash – i.e. those present on the ground at the time of the accident - are not considered.

Secondly, it has to be a commercial passenger or freight flight. Test flights are excluded from these statistics, as are certain aircraft categories such as business jets, general aviation and military.

The third and final criterion requires that the plane has a maximum take-off weight of at least 12,540 lb (5.7 metric tonnes), which translate into a minimum seating capacity of around fifteen passengers.

Travelling by air is still the safest means of transportation in the world.

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