The number of people killed in airliner crashes worldwide more than doubled last year.
The 34 fatal accidents involving passenger and freight planes in 2005 resulted in 1,050 deaths, statistics from Flight International magazine revealed.
This compared with 28 fatal accidents and 466 deaths in 2004, with the 2005 passenger and crew fatality figure the highest since 2000.
Flight International's operations and safety editor David Learmount said: ``Airline safety in 2005 took a step backwards in terms of the number of fatal accidents and resulting passenger and crew deaths.
``It was a disappointing 12 months given the outstanding safety performance in the previous two years.''
He added that a number of the fatal crashes last year involved airlines based in countries with ``mediocre or poor safety records'' compared with the rest of the world.
Also, the fatal accidents last year tended to involve older aircraft. In addition, none of the major world airlines suffered a fatal crash in 2005.
Nigeria had two fatal crashes last year in which a total of 225 people were killed, while Sudan saw three fatal accidents, all involving old Soviet-built aircraft.
The fatal accidents last year also included the West Caribbean Airways' crash in Venezuela in August which claimed the lives of 152 passengers and eight crew.
There was also severe loss of life in the Helios Airways' disaster when one of its Boeing 737s crashed into hills north of Athens in August, killing 115 passengers and six crew.
These are the crash and fatality figures for recent years for airliner flights worldwide:
YEAR FATAL CRASHES NUMBER OF DEATHS
1996 57 1,840
1997 51 1,306
1998 48 1,244
1999 48 730
2000 37 1,101
2001 33 778
2002 40 1,022
2003 27 702
2004 28 466
2005 34 1,050
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