The international civil aviation network carries over four billion passengers around the world annually. In celebrating ICAO's 75th Anniversary Celebrations, we will be highlighting some of the crucial safety achievements that have enabled this. We hope you follow our UnitingAviation.com series throughout the year, and we encourage you to use the #ICAO75 hashtag to share your thoughts and memories with us through social media.
Cabin safety contributes to the prevention of accidents and incidents, the protection of the aircraft’s occupants, through
About the Author
Martin Maurino is the Safety, Efficiency and Operations Officer at ICAO who heads the ICAO Cabin Safety Programme. Before joining ICAO, he held safety analysis and safety management roles at Transport Canada and the International Air Transport Association (IATA). Martin began his career in aviation as a cabin crew member at Air Canada.
proactive safety management, including hazard identification and safety risk management, and the increase of survivability in the event of an emergency situation.
With a total of 50 fatalities for scheduled commercial operations transporting 4.1 billion passengers, the year of 2017 had a global fatality rate of 12.2 fatalities per billion passengers.
A review of ICAO accident data from 2013-2017 involving commercial scheduled air transport indicated that there were average 2.6 accidents per million flight departures yearly.
The fact that most occupants survive accidents can be linked to improvements made in occupant protection.
These improvements result from survival factor investigations, which address cabin safety aspects during accident investigations.
Many of these significant improvements date back to the 1980s, when accidents were more frequent. As aviation’s safety record has considerably improved since, the field of cabin safety now focuses on proactive initiatives to prevent accidents and possible fatalities. In 2014, ICAO launched a competency-based approach to cabin crew safety training, to ensure that cabin crew members can best respond to emergencies on board. In 2015, work was undertaken to promote the use of child restraint systems for the safe travel of infants and children and prevent injuries during flight.
The challenges related to cabin safety are continuously evolving and require ongoing improvements. The proliferation of Lithium batteries in many devices carried by passengers and crew has led to a recent revision of cabin crew firefighting procedures to mitigate the risk of inflight fires. The digitalisation of safety information is creating a move towards cabin-electronic flight bags (C-EFBs). New security threats call for procedures and training to respond to chemical, biological and radiological incidents, as well as suspected cases of trafficking in persons, for cabin crew members to identify and respond to these situations adequately.
ICAO published the Manual on the Investigation of Cabin Safety Aspects in Accidents and Incidents (Doc 10062) to encourage the uniform application of the Standards and Recommended Practices (SARPs) contained in Annex 13 – Aircraft Accident and Incident Investigation, particularly in relation to survival aspects. It provides information and guidance to States on the procedures, practices and techniques that can be used when investigating cabin safety aspects of an occurrence. It is the first ICAO manual dedicated solely to cabin safety in investigations.