Aviation

Aviation

World Aviation Accidents

In 2015 more than 3.5 billion people flew safely on 37.6 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 0.32 in 2015, or about one major accident for every 3.1 million flights. This compares with an accident rate of 0.27 in 2014. (A hull loss is an accident in which the aircraft is destroyed or substantially damaged and is not subsequently repaired.) There were 68 accidents in 2015 (on Eastern- and Western-built aircraft), down from 77 in 2014. The Germanwings flight 9525 and Metrojet 9268 losses that resulted in the deaths of 374 passengers and crew are not included in the statistics because they were caused by deliberate acts of unlawful interference, namely pilot suicide and suspected terrorism.

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 2014 about 756 million people flew on commercial airlines in the United States, up 2.3 percent from 2013. The Federal Aviation Administration projects that more than 1 billion people will fly on scheduled commercial airlines in the United States annually by 2029.

Aircraft Accidents In The United States, 2014 (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 17,226 27 0 0 0.157
          Nonscheduled 373 1 0 0 0.268
     Less than 10 seats          
          Commuter 349 4 0 0 1.448
          On-demand 3,448 35 8 20 1.015
General aviation 18,103 1,221 253 419 6.744
Total civil aviation NA 1,287 261 439 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 1,287 civil aviation accidents in 2014, down from 1,297 in 2013. Total fatalities rose to 439 in 2014 from 430 in 2013.
    • There were no fatalities on large scheduled commercial airlines in 2014 for the fifth year running. There were no fatalities on large nonscheduled airlines (charter airlines) in 2014. There were nine fatalities in 2013.
    • Small commuter airlines had four accidents in 2014 compared with seven in 2013. There were no fatalities in 2014 following five in 2013.
    • The number of small on-demand airline (air taxi) accidents fell to 35 in 2014 from 44 in 2013.
    • There were 1,221 general aviation (noncommercial) accidents in 2014, down from 1,224 in 2013. 2014 accidents resulted in 419 deaths, up from 391 in 2013.

     

    Large Airline Accidents In The United States, 2005-2014 (1)

    Year Flight hours Total accidents Fatal accidents Total fatalities (2) Total accidents per
    100,000 flight hours
    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 30 1 2 0.169
    2011 17,962,965 31 0 0 0.173
    2012 17,722,235 27 0 0 0.152
    2013 17,692,748 23 2 9 0.130
    2014 (3) 17,599,000 28 0 0 0.159

    (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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    World Aviation Accidents, 2011-2015 (1)

     

      Accidents (2)    
    Year Total Fatal Fatalities (2) Accident rate (3)
    2011 96 22 490 0.58
    2012 78 15 414 0.28
    2013 88 15 177 0.38
    2014 77 12 641 0.27
    2015 68 4 136 0.32

    (1) Accident information is current at the time of publication, but is subject to future revision.
    (2) 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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    Top 10 Deadliest World 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).