Aviation

Aviation

WORLD AVIATION ACCIDENTS

In 2013 more than 3 billion people flew safely on 36.4 million flights, according to the International Air Transport Association. The global accident rate (as measured by the rate of hull losses on Western built jets) was 0.41 in 2013, or about one accident for every 2.4 million flights. This was a deterioration from 2012, at 0.21, which was the lowest in aviation history. (A hull loss is an accident in which the aircraft is destroyed or substantially damaged and is not subsequently repaired.) A Malaysia Airlines jet shot down on July 17, 2014, over the Ukraine became the seventh deadliest crash in history, with 298 fatalities. Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 en route to Beijing disappeared on March 8, 2014 with 239 on board. For further information see the International Air Transport Association.

The deadliest world aviation accident was the collision of two Boeing 747 passenger planes on the runway of an airport in the Spanish island of Tenerife in 1977. The crash resulted in the deaths of 583 out of 644 passengers according to the Geneva-based Aircraft Crashes Record Office’s list of Worst Aviation Accidents.

UNITED STATES

In the United States the National Transportation Safety Board compiles data on aviation flight hours, accidents and fatalities for commercial and general aviation.

Commercial airlines are divided into two categories according to the type of aircraft used: aircraft with 10 or more seats and aircraft with fewer than 10 seats. The nonscheduled commercial aircraft with more than 10 seats are also called charter airlines. Commercial airlines flying aircraft with fewer than 10 seats include commuter (scheduled) airlines, and on-demand air taxis. General aviation includes all U.S. noncommercial or privately owned aircraft.

In 2013, 744 million people flew on commercial airlines in the United States, compared with 739 million in 2012 and 734 million in 2011. The Federal Aviation Administration projects that more than 1 billion people will fly on scheduled commercial airlines in the United States annually by 2028.

AIRCRAFT ACCIDENTS IN THE UNITED STATES, 2013 (1)

    Number of accidents    
  Flight hours
(000) 
Total Fatal Number of
fatalities (2)
Accidents
per 100,000
flight hours
Commercial airlines          
     10 or more seats          
          Scheduled 17,150 20 1 2 0.117
          Nonscheduled 478 3 1 7 0.628
     Less than 10 seats          
          Commuter 322 8 3 6 2.481
          On-demand 3,562 44 10 27 1.240
General aviation 20,887 1,222 221 387 5.850
Total civil aviation NA 1,297 236 429 NA

(1) Preliminary data. Totals do not add because of collisions involving aircraft in different categories.
(2) Includes nonpassenger deaths.

NA=Data not available.

Source: National Transportation Safety Board.

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  • There were 1,297 civil aviation accidents in 2013, down from 1,539 in 2012. Total fatalities fell to 429 from 447.
  • There were two fatalities on large scheduled commercial airlines in 2013, following three years with no fatalities. There were seven fatalities on large nonscheduled airlines (charter airlines) in 2013. There were no fatalities in the prior two years.
  • Small commuter airlines had eight accidents 2013 compared with four in 2012. There were six fatalities in 2013 after six years with no fatalities.
  • The number of small on-demand airline (air taxi) accidents grew to 44 in 2013 from 37 in 2012.
  • There were 1,222 general aviation (noncommercial) accidents in 2013, down 17 percent from 1,471 in 2012. 2013 accidents resulted in 387 deaths, down from 432 in 2012.

 

LARGE AIRLINE ACCIDENTS IN THE UNITED STATES, 2004-2013 (1)

Year Flight hours Total accidents Fatal accidents Total fatalities (2) Total accidents per
100,000 flight hours
2004 18,882,503 30 2 14 0.159
2005 19,390,029 40 3 22 0.206
2006 19,263,209 33 2 50 0.171
2007 19,637,322 28 1 1 0.143
2008 19,126,766 28 2 3 0.146
2009 17,626,832 30 2 52 0.170
2010 17,750,986 29 1 2 0.163
2011 17,962,965 31 0 0 0.173
2012 17,722,235 27 0 0 0.152
2013 (3) 17,627,600 23 2 9 0.130

(1) Scheduled and unscheduled planes with more than 10 seats.
(2) Includes nonpassenger deaths.
(3) Preliminary.

Source: National Transportation Safety Board.

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FATAL WORLD AVIATION ACCIDENTS, 2009-2013

Year Fatal accidents (1) Fatalities (1) Accident rate (2)
2009 18 685 0.75
2010 23 786 0.65
2011 22 490 0.40
2012 15 414 0.21
2013 16 210 0.41

(1) On eastern- and western-built jet aircraft.
(2) Measured in hull losses per million flights of western-built jet aircraft. A hull loss is an accident in which the aircraft is destroyed or substantially damaged and is not subsequently repaired.

Source: International Air Transport Association.

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THE TEN DEADLIEST AVIATION CRASHES

Rank Date Location Country Operator Fatalities
1 Mar. 27, 1977 Tenerife Spain Pan Am, KLM 583
2 Aug. 12, 1985 Yokota AFB Japan JAL 520
3 Nov. 12, 1996 New Delhi India Saudi Arabian Airlines, Kazakhstan Airlines 349
4 Mar. 3, 1974 Ermenonville France Turkish Airlines 346
5 Jun. 23, 1985 Atlantic Ocean   Air India 329
6 Aug. 19, 1980 Jedda Saudi Arabia Saudi Arabian Airlines 301
7 Jul. 17, 2014 Grabovo Ukraine Malaysia Airlines 298
8 Jul. 3, 1988 Persian Gulf   Iran Air 290
9 Feb. 19, 2003 Kerman Iran Islamic Republic of Iran Air Force 275
10 May 25, 1979 Chicago U.S. American Airlines 273

Source: Aircraft Crashes Record Office, Geneva (baaa-acro.com/Statistics.html).