Airline Accident Rate Rises, Total Accidents Drop In 2020


The airline accident rate for 2020 was higher than average in spite of fewer accidents taking place, according to a report released by the International Air Transport Association (IATA) on Thursday. In its 2020 Safety Report, the association noted that there were 1.71 accidents per million flights in the commercial airline industry this year compared to the five-year average of 1.38 accidents per million flights. The report also stated that total flight operations decreased by 53 percent in 2020, largely due to the effects of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.  

“The severe reduction in flight numbers magnified the impact of each accident when we calculate rates,” said IATA Director General and CEO Alexandre de Juniac. “But numbers don’t lie, and we will not allow this to become a trend. We will have even sharper focus on safety during this period of reduced operations and as flight schedules are rebuilt when the world reopens.”

In addition, IATA found that the total number of accidents decreased from 52 overall with 8 fatal crashes in 2019 to 38 overall with 5 fatal crashes in 2020. The fatality risk remained even with the five-year average of 0.13. The group highlighted that there no loss of control inflight (LOC-I) accidents in the segment for the first time in more than 15 years.

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  1. Not surprising… it’s statistics. What also isn’t surprising is seeing more accidents during a time when pilots in the western world aren’t flying nearly as much, to the point many are barely leagal for recency. The decrease in “western” flying also skews the data as accidents in the “east” represent a larger percentage.