Global aviation consulting firm to70 has released a report about aviation safety in 2020. According to the company which is headquartered in The Hague in The Netherlands with offices around the globe, there were 40 large commercial aircraft accidents last year, five of which included fatalities. And despite there being a 42% reduction in the number of flights it tracked worldwide due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there was an increase in the number of fatal accidents per million flights versus the previous year.
Per million flights, large commercial aircraft had just 0.18 fatal accidents in 2019, with 2020 experiencing 0.27 fatal flights using the same criteria. While this is a fifty percent year-over-year uptick, it still amounts to just one fatal airliner crash per every 3.7 million flights. Yes, you read correctly. Your odds of being killed on a commercial airline flight is just one in 3.7 million flights. This is an astounding testament to the safety of traveling by air.
Making these statistics every more incredible is that while 299 passengers and crew were killed in 2020 airliner crashes, more than half of these deaths were due to a Ukranian passenger jet being mistakenly shot down after it was misidentified by Iranian security forces as a warplane. That crash killed 176 people, leaving just 123 people who lost their lives in what might considered a more usual manner. A Pakistan International Airlines Airbus A320 crashed short of the runway in Karachi in May of last year, killing all but two of the 99 people aboard. This crash was determined to be pilot error during a second attempted landing.
The last fatal airline accident in the U.S. was over a decade ago, in 2009. Globally, airline fatalities have dropped dramatically, with 2017 being ths safest year on record with just two fatal accidents, both on regional turboprop aircraft, which killed 13 people in total. There were no fatal passenger jet crashes that entire year.
So, while a fear of flying isn’t anything new for millions of people, the statistics show air travel being far safer than hopping in your car to go somewhere. While you may be giving up control of the situation, the safety of today’s aircraft and the amazing flight technology that pilots professionally maneuver through the skies simply can’t be matched.