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‘Amid 20 fatal crashes, 2019 remains one of the safest years in aviation’


Grounded Boeing 737 Max planes. SOURCE: Google

Despite the high-profile Boeing 737 Max accident, the year 2019 was one of the safest years ever for commercial aviation, Aviation Safety Network data show.

Yet, while the number of fatalities has decreased, the number of accidents has increased to a level above the five-year average.

One of the gains of 2019 in local aviation in Nigeria is the zero-crash recorded in commercial operations. The industry, to date, has the enviable record of four-year operations without a fatal accident.

Over the year 2019, the Aviation Safety Network recorded a total of 20 fatal airliner accidents, resulting in 283 occupant fatalities. This makes 2019 the seventh safest year ever by the number of fatal accidents and the third safest in terms of fatalities.


The safest year in aviation history was 2017 with 10 accidents and 44 lives lost.

Looking at that five-year average of 14 accidents and 480 fatalities, last year showed a markedly higher number of accidents.

Thirteen accidents involved passenger flights, six were cargo flights. One out of 20 accident airplanes were operated by airlines on the E.U. “blacklist”, down by two compared to 2018.

Surprisingly more than half of the accidents occurred in North America, compared to just one in 2018 and three in 2017. Five accidents occurred in remote or rugged parts of Canada and Alaska. Despite progress made through various safety initiatives by Canadian and U.S. regulators, this still is an area of concern.

Given the estimated worldwide air traffic of about 39 million flights, the accident rate is one fatal accident per almost two million flights.

Reflecting on this accident rate, Aviation Safety Network’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Harro Ranter, stated that the level of safety had increased significantly.

“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 even have been 65 fatal accidents. This shows the enormous progress in terms of safety in the past two decades,” Ranter said.

The statistics are based on all worldwide fatal commercial aircraft accidents – passenger and cargo flights – involving civil aircraft of which the basic model has been certified for carrying 14 or more passengers.

The Aviation Safety Network (ASN) is an independent organisation located in the Netherlands. Founded in 1996, it has the aim to provide everyone with a professional interest in aviation with up-to-date, complete and reliable authoritative information on airliner accidents and safety issues.

ASN is an exclusive service of the Flight Safety Foundation (FSF). The figures have been compiled using the airliner accident database of the Aviation Safety Network, the Internet leader in aviation safety information. The Aviation Safety Network uses information from authoritative and official sources.

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