Click here for search results

Air Transport Safety

Guatemala City DC 10 accident


Spanish version
(PDF, 627KB)


On the 21st December 1999 a French registered DC10, operated by Cubana Aviation for a charter flight, overrun the runway in Guatemala Cityand crashed into some houses. Of the 318 persons on board, 16 were killed and 30 were injured. In addition, on the ground two persons perished and twenty were injured. The accident investigation, which was jointly conducted by French, Guatemalan, and Cuban authorities, concluded that the crew was unfamiliar with the approach and runway slope, landed much too long, committed an additional operational error during touch down, and never realized that they were to overshoot the runway.

Of all the regions, Africa has by far the poorest safety record. Especially West and Central Africa have about 30 times as many aircraft accidents as the USA:

Percentage of world departures

Percentage of accidents

While the absolute numbers of fatalities in air transport remain relatively low, poor oversight and safety standards are one of the most important impediments for the development of the sector:
  • Aircraft insurance becomes very costly (risk premium);
  • Cooperation with other airlines or membership in alliances is difficult (may jeopardize reputation of partner);
  • Aircraft financing hindered (no Bank or Leasing Company wants to focus on recovery through insurance claims);
  • Aircraft manufacturer reluctant to sell aircraft (risk for reputation);
  • Low acceptance of safety issues by passengers pushes clientele downwards and reduces yields (higher end passengers select better and safer air carrier);
  • Flights to important and lucrative destinations may be prohibited (e.g. to Europe , thus indirectly favoring air carriers from developed countries).

The Bank is supporting client countries in the implementation of an adequate air transport safety regime. This consists of:

  1. Basic Aviation Legislation
  2. Aviation Regulatory Framework (in accordance with ICAO’s SARP)
  3. Institutional arrangements (e.g. creation of a Civil Aviation Authority)
  4. Institutional capacity building for safety oversight
  5. Equipment and technical documentation.
For smaller developing countries, which don’t have the appropriate traffic nor necessary funding for maintaining an adequate aviation oversight authority, a regional solution is often the only adequate manner for implementation. The Bank is currently preparing a regional air transport project in West and Central Africa , which is aiming improving air transport safety by establishing regional initiatives, which lead to permanent safety aviation agencies.

Permanent URL for this page: