So how likely IS your plane to crash?

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The Independent Travel

Not very - aircraft crashes in 2009 fell to their second lowest level in history, according to figures released February 18 by the International Air Transport Association (IATA).

Official statistics show that there was one accident for every 1.4 million flights last year, second only to the accident rate in 2006. That's despite several high profile crashes in 2009, including the loss of Air France AF447 over the Atlantic, a fatal Turkish Airlines crash at Amsterdam's Schiphol airport and the ditching of US Airways flight 1549 into the Hudson River in New York.

There were 18 fatal accidents, compared to 23 in 2008 and out of a total of 35 million flights worldwide. These accidents killed 685 people - slightly higher than the 502 killed in 2008 but still a fraction of the 2.3 billion people who safely took to the skies.

"Even in a decade during which airlines lost an average of US$5 billion per year, we still managed to improve our safety record. But every fatality is a human tragedy that reminds us of the ultimate goal of zero accidents and zero fatalities," said Giovanni Bisignani, IATA's Director General and CEO.

IATA's figures include Western-built jet aircraft only, and suggest that North America and Europe performed better than the global average, but Asia-Pacific performed slightly worse. Africa had the worst accident rate globally, accounting for only 2% of global traffic, but 26% of global western-built jet hull losses.