In 2019, 20 fatal airliner accidents with fatalities occurred. The number of fatalities is 283, reports the Aviation Safety Network. The number of accidents is higher than the 5-year average of 14 accidents. But the number of fatalities is considerably lower than the 5-year average of 480 fatalities.
Fatal airliner accidents
Thirteen accidents involved passenger flights, 6 were cargo flights. One out of the 20 accident airplanes was operated by an airline on the EU blacklist, down by 2 compared to 2018.
Despite the increased number of accidents in 2019, that year is the 3rd safest in terms of fatalities. And it is the 7th safest by the number of accidents. The safest year in aviation history is 2017 with 10 accidents and 44 lives lost.
Most fatal accidents in North America
Surprisingly, just over half of the accidents (11) occurred in North America, compared to just 1 in 2018 and 3 in 2017.
Five of those accidents occurred in remote or rugged parts of Canada and Alaska. Despite progress made through various safety initiatives by Canadian and US regulators, this still is an area of concern.
39 million flights
Worldwide air traffic is estimated at about 39 million flights. Thus, the accident rate is just below 1 fatal accident per 2 million flights.
Aviation Safety Network's CEO Harro Ranter reflects on this accident rate by saying that the level of safety has increased significantly.
Lower accident rate
And he adds: "If the accident rate had remained the same as 10 years ago, there would have been 34 fatal accidents last year. At the accident rate of the year 2000, there would have been even 65 fatal accidents. This shows the enormous progress in terms of safety in the past 2 decades."
Boeing 737 MAX
Ranter also reflects on the worldwide Boeing 737 MAX grounding: “The year 2020 should be decisive on how the international aviation industry will handle aircraft design, flight crew procedures and certification in the wake of the 4th longest airliner grounding.”
Related: “A litmus test for Boeing”
Tags: airliner safety, airliner accidents, Boeing 737 MAX