Air disasters to become commonplace, EU warns

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The Independent Online
One major air crash every week could be the norm within 20 years unless safety standards are improved, a European Parliament report warns. It points to an alarming rise in accidents and mid-air near misses in the last year, and says increasing demand for air transport threatens to undermine safety.

The report calls for the setting up of an EU Air Safety Board and the use of EU-wide transport guidance systems. Its author, Conservative MEP Anne McIntosh, said: "Cheaper air fares must not come at the expense of passenger safety."

Her report, to be considered by the European Parliament's transport committee before going to Strasbourg for approval next month, says 1996 was a particularly bad year, with 75 fatal accidents worldwide, compared with an annual average of 66.2 throughout the 1980s. Deaths rose by 73 per cent to 1,597, compared with an average of 1,136 in the 1980s.