2012 the safest-ever year for air travel

This year has been the safest-ever 12 months for air travel, according to figures out today.

The number of fatal crashes in 2012 and the number of people killed in those crashes fell sharply compared with 2011.

And the fatal accident rate of one per 2.5 million flights made 2012 the safest year on record and almost twice as safe as 2011, flight advisory service Ascend said.

A plane takes off from London's Heathrow Airport. Credit: Steve Parsons/PA Wire/Press Association Images

The figures, which relate to airliner safety, showed that there were 15 plane crashes involving deaths in 2012 compared with 25 last year.

The number of people killed in fatal accident crashes this year was 362 compared with 403 last year.

Nearly three quarters of the deaths came in two incidents this year.