Air fares grew and airline seats shrunk, but much more important was the good news about flying in 2012: It was the safest year for air travel since 1945, according to one research group.
The world's airlines -- including passenger and cargo flights -- reported only 23 accidents resulting in 475 fatalities last year, compared with the 10-year average of 34 accidents and 773 fatalities per year, according to the Netherlands-based Aviation Safety Network, a private online operation.
The declining accident numbers are the result of several efforts by international aviation groups to require audits of airlines around the world to comply with safety standards, said Harro Ranter, president of the network.
"I think all of these efforts combined are paying off," he said.
The International Civil Aviation Organization, an agency of the United Nations, has not released its statistics for 2012, but it had previously noted that airline accidents have been on the decline.