The number of people killed in commercial air crashes grew in 2020 despite the Covid-19 pandemic dramatically curtailing air travel across the world. The data comes from the Aviation Safety Network which released its latest air crash statistics at the beginning of January, documenting 314 fatalities. There were eight fatal accidents in total in 2020, the lowest number ever recorded in a full year. Both figures are below the industry’s five-year average and they take into account two events where airliners were inadvertently shot down, killing 182 passengers and crew.
ASN reported that industry studies indicate that the volume of global air traffic in 2020 was just half that of 2019 and the approximately 19 million flights operated were equivalent to the total number recorded in 1999. That year, ASN registered 43 fatal accidents resulting in 689 fatalities, clearly illustrating the strides made in aviation safety over the past two decades. 2017 remains the safest year on record for aviation safety with 10 fatal accidents and 44 lives lost. Despite the progress, ASN remarks that significant challenges remain, with two underscored in 2020: approach and landing accidents as well as commercial flights over conflict zones.
Runway excursion accidents in India and Turkey resulted in 23 fatalities last year and the incidents highlight the fact that work needs to be done in preventing runway overruns and ensuring runway environments follow International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) recommendations. ASN also emphasized adherence to established ICAO guidance on aircraft flying through conflict zones after the shooting down of a Ukraine International Airlines Boeing 737 over Tehran on January 08 and the downing of an East African Express Airways Brasilia in Somalia on May 04.
*Click below to enlarge (charted by Statista)