Airline crashes make headlines again
Following the tragic and much publicised Ethiopian Airlines crash in March, the aviation industry continued to make the headlines during the second quarter, suffering further major loss activity. Sadly, we saw further loss of life as an Aeroflot Sukhoi Superjet 100 crashed and caught fire during landing at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo International Airport, killing 41 people. Fortunately, 37 occupants survived, albeit with some sustaining injuries. The cause of the crash, the second fatal accident involving the Superjet since it went in to service, has not yet been established, but the hull and liability claim is likely to be substantial.Despite being the one fatal loss during the second quarter, it certainly wasn’t the only incident to have made the media headlines. In particular, the crash of a Biman Bangladesh Dash 8 Q400 in Myanmar, and a Miami Air International Boeing 737-800 which skidded off the runway and into a Florida river, both featured and must be considered remarkably close calls, given the extent of damage each aircraft sustained and the fact that together they were carrying over 170 passengers and crew.
Attritional losses remain frequent
While fatal accidents and near misses are often the only incidents to be reported, these major claims only make up one aspect of the losses that occur in the aviation sector. The smaller partial and attritional claims remain ever frequent and we continue to see overruns, bumps and scrapes that regularly lead to significant repair claims and costly constructive total losses. Together these everyday events account for a significant portion of the annual market claims figure and as such remain the key area of concern amongst aviation insurers.
Losses in other sectors add pressure
In addition to the airline accidents witnessed in the second quarter, other sectors of the aviation industry also continue to experience losses and add pressure on underwriters. The general aviation (GA) sector, in particular, suffered some high-profile losses in the second quarter involving both fixed-wing and rotor-wing aircraft. This included the crash of a corporate jet in Mexico in which eleven passengers perished, a mid-air collision of two floatplanes in Alaska which killed six people, the crash of a light aircraft in Brazil, killing all three occupants, among them a Brazilian popstar and a jet that was destroyed after impacting a hangar during takeoff, resulting in ten fatalities and third party damages. While it is too early to suggest reserves for these losses, it is estimated that they will produce some substantial hull and liability insurance claims. General aviation losses aside, insurers are still calculating their exposure from recent losses in the aerospace sector, including, earthquake damage at Clark International Airport in the Philippines and of course the continued worldwide grounding of the Boeing 737 Max fleet, which could end up being the largest ever non-war claim the aviation market has incurred.
The second quarter has produced further costly claims for aviation insurers, across all sectors of the business. Coming against the backdrop of a bad year in 2018, and a poor first quarter, these recent losses will continue to spur underwriters to remain disciplined as the year progresses. The market is finely balanced and further major losses in the coming months could lead underwriters to react more strongly.
Airline losses in Q2
22 April 2019 - Asia Airways: The AN-26 freighter performing a flight from Djibouti to Khartoum Airport, Sudan, was forced to land in open terrain after reportedly running out of fuel.
23 April 2019 - AirBlue: The A320-200 performing a flight from Sharjah to Peshawar suffered a runway excursion on landing and collided with aircraft arresting barriers. Both engines were reported to have been damaged in the occurrence.
03 May 2019 - Miami Air International: The B737-800 experienced a runway overrun upon landing at Jacksonville Naval Air Station, Florida. The plane came to rest in shallow waters of a nearby river, sustaining substantial damage. All 143 passengers and crew survived.
03 May 2019 - Buffalo Airways: The DC-3 aircraft lost engine power after takeoff from Hay River Airport, Canada. The crew declared an emergency and a forced landing was executed. The aircraft is reported to have sustained substantial damage.
05 May 2019 - Aeroflot: On takeoff from Sheremetyevo airport the SSJ100 was reportedly struck by lightning. The aircraft returned to land where it experienced a runway overrun. A fire broke out destroying part of the aircraft. 41 occupants (40 passengers and one crew member) perished, 37 occupants survived, some having sustained injuries.
08 May 2019 - Biman Bangladesh Airlines: The DHC-8-400 skidded off the runway during landing at Yangon International Airport in Myanmar during bad weather. The aircraft is reported to have sustained substantial damage.
10 May 2019 - Jazz Aviation: The Air Canada Express DHC-8-300 being operated by Jazz Aviation, was hit by a fuel truck while taxiing to gate at Toronto Pearson Airport in Canada. The aircraft is reported to have suffered substantial damage.
12 May 2019 - Myanmar National Airlines: The ERJ-190LR performed a forced landing at Mandalay International Airport, Myanmar with the nose landing gear retracted. There were no injuries reported.
15 May 2019 - Air Peace: The B737-300 suffered a hard landing at Lagos Murtala Mohammed International Airport, Nigeria. It was reported that the right hand engine contacted the runway surface sustaining damage, the extent of which is unknown.
30 May 2019 - Venezolana: The B737-200 suffered an uncontained no.1 engine failure after departure from Port of Spain-Piarco Airport in Trinidad. The aircraft returned for a safe emergency landing. According to media reports the engine suffered significant damage.
15 June 2019 - United Airlines: The B757-200 sustained damage to the forward fuselage and nose gear following a hard landing accident at Newark Liberty International Airport, New Jersey, USA.
27 June 2019- Angara Airlines: The An-24 aircraft crashed into a building following a runway excursion on landing at Nizhneangarsk Airport, Russia. A post impact fire erupted. Two crew members were killed and a number of passengers were reported injured.
Market knowledge and publicly available information, including: www.flightglobal.com, www.aviation-safety.net, www.avherald.com. Information is based on reported airline incidents involving loss of life and or where we estimate hull reserves will exceed deductible. Excludes aircraft with less than 50 passenger seats, and private or military aircraft.