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Russia, CIS had highest airline accident rate in 2006 - IATA

GENEVA, April 17 (RIA Novosti) - Russia and members of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) had the highest rate of airplane accidents in the world in 2006, a report from an international air transport body said Tuesday.

The 2006 Safety Report prepared by the International Air Transport Association (IATA) revealed that Russia and CIS countries had a rate of 8.6 Western-built hull losses per million flights, which is 13 times higher than the global average.

The second-highest accident rate for air transport after Russia and the CIS was registered in Africa, at 4.31 accidents per million flights.

On the whole, the report said that 2006 was the safest year for flying on record.

"The safety results for 2006 are impressive. Air transport remains the safest form of travel. But we must do even better," Giovanni Bisignani, IATA's Director General and CEO, said.

"With demand for air travel increasing at 5-6% per year, the accident rate must decrease just to keep the actual number of accidents in check," he added. "The goal will always be zero accidents. And the interim target is to reduce the industry rate to 0.49 accidents per million flights in 2008 - a 25% improvement."

IATA's task is to represent, lead and serve the airline industry. Its members comprise some 250 airlines - the world's leading passenger and cargo airlines among them - representing 94% of international scheduled air traffic.

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