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An ATSB discussion paper has found that from 1990 to 2005 Queensland had a higher fatal aviation accident rate than the rest of Australia but that the results for Tasmania were much worse, and that the fatal accident rate for Far North Queensland was better than for Queensland's North and Central regions.

Like NSW/ACT, QLD was the location for 102 of the 318 fatal accidents in Australia from 1990 to 2005.

Compared with the national rate of 0.7 fatal accidents per 100,000 landings 1990-2004, TAS had 1.8 and QLD the next highest at 0.9. QLD had 32% of the accidents and 24% of the landings so its rate was higher than the rest of Australia.

The Australian Transport Safety Bureau initiated a research project to see if Far North Queensland (FNQ), where the 15-fatality Lockhart River accident occurred in 2005, was over-represented in longer term accident data and has found mixed results.

Using Australian Bureau of Statistics definitions for the regions, the ATSB found that the fatal accident rate for the South region was 0.7 per 100,000 landings, the same as the national average, but Far North Queensland was 1.0 and both Central and North 1.2.

However, in Far North Queensland 50 per cent of the fatal accidents involved Charter operations and because more passengers were on board, FNQ had the highest fatality rate among Queensland regions.

The ATSB noted a number of limitations with the data including that the location of the accident may have no safety significance. For example, the so called 'ghost flight' involving a chartered Beech King Air in 2000 travelled from southern WA across the NT before running out of fuel and crashing near Burketown, QLD with 8 fatalities.

The ATSB Research Discussion paper also notes the influence of weather, geography and other physical and environmental factors and makes some comparisons among regions in QLD and WA.

Copies of Discussion Paper B2006/0034 can be downloaded from the website, or obtained from the ATSB by telephoning (02) 6274 6425 or 1800 020 616 and comments addressed to the Deputy Director, Information & Investigations by 3 October are welcome.

Media contact: 1800 020 616
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Last update 01 April 2011