Business aviation safety performance in Europe is good but static, according to the European Aviation Safety Agency´s latest annual safety review.
The majority of business aviation fatal accidents by far involve aircraft not registered in an EASA member state. In the past five years, there has been only one business aircraft fatal accident each year in EASA member states, taking into account only aircraft above 2,250kg (5,000lb). In 2010, the one fatal accident did not involve an EASA-registered aircraft.
Exceptions to the one-a-year average were 2003, 2004 and 2008, when there were no business aviation accidents in EASA member states. However, there were 13 fatal business aircraft accidents last year to non-EASA aircraft, up from eight in 2008.
EASA notes business traffic dropped dramatically in 2009, but admits it has not been able to extract accident rates from the simple numbers for lack of data. EASA classifies business aviation as a part of general aviation (GA), but classifies aerial work separately, outside GA.
Among GA aircraft with a maximum take-off mass of at least 2,250kg, EASA found the most common cause of fatal accident was loss of control in flight, which caused 21 fatal accidents last year. The cause of ten is unknown as yet, and there were six occurrences of controlled flight into terrain.
For all GA operations, including both fixed-wing aircraft and helicopters weighing more than 2,250kg conducting private, business and aerial work, the total number of accidents increased from 19 in 2009 to 31 last year, but fatal accidents dropped from nine to six.