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 fiscal year 2015 about 786 million people flew on commercial airlines in the United States, up 4.0 percent from 2014. The Federal Aviation Administration projects that more than 1 billion people will fly on scheduled commercial airlines in the United States annually by 2031.

 

Aircraft Accidents In The United States, 2015 (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 17,435 27 0 0 0.155
          Nonscheduled 385 1 0 0 0.260
     Less than 10 seats          
          Commuter 343 5 1 1 1.458
          On-demand 3,566 38 7 27 1.066
General aviation 20,576 1,209 229 376 5.851
Total civil aviation NA 1,280 237 404 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 1,280 civil aviation accidents in 2015, down from 1,291 in 2014. Total fatalities fell to 404 in 2015 from 444 in 2014.
    • There were no fatalities on large scheduled commercial airlines in 2015 for the sixth year running. There were no fatalities on large nonscheduled airlines (charter airlines) in 2015 and 2014. There were nine fatalities in 2013.
    • Small commuter airlines had five accidents in 2015 compared with four accidents in 2014. There was one fatality in 2015 following none in 2014.
    • The number of small on-demand airline (air taxi) accidents rose to 38 in 2015 compared with 35 in 2014 and 44 in 2013.
    • There were 1,209 general aviation (noncommercial) accidents in 2015, down from 1,223 in 2014. 2015 accidents resulted in 376 deaths, down from 424 in 2014.

     

    Large Airline Accidents In The United States, 2006-2015 (1)

    Year Flight hours Total accidents Fatal accidents Total fatalities (2) Total accidents
    per 100,000 flight hours
    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 32 0 0 0.178
    2012 17,722,236 26 0 0 0.147
    2013 17,717,957 23 2 9 0.130
    2014 17,646,147 29 0 0 0.164
    2015 (3) 17,820,000 28 0 0 0.157

    (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) Total 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.
    (3) 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).