2011 safest year to fly
Paris - Last year was the safest since World War II for airlines, according to figures compiled by a German group of aviation experts.
Just 498 people died worldwide in civil aviation accidents during 2011, the Hamburg-based Jet Airliner Crash Data Evaluation Centre (JADEC) found, in research published in the Aero International magazine.
That compares with 829 in 2010.
"Never since World War II have fewer people died in air accidents," the magazine reported.
In addition, for the first time since 1964, there was no "major incident" in which 100 or more people died.
Most accidents occurred on short-haul flights under 500km, the research found.
The authors cited better flight control systems, and a more effective safety culture in a growing number of countries as the reasons behind the lower death toll.
Russia and Africa were among the worst areas for fatal accidents, but the report also warned of a "ticking timebomb" at busy European airports, where high traffic volume caused a risk of collisions on the ground during taxiing and take-offs.