The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) found an overall decrease in fatal accidents in U.S. civil aviation for 2020 along with significant reductions in flight activity for the year. The board noted that 332 people were killed during general aviation operations last year compared to 414 in 2019. The general aviation fatal accident rate also fell slightly from 1.069 fatal accidents per 100,000 flight hours in 2019 to 1.049 per 100,000 flight hours in 2020. Twenty-one people were killed in accidents involving on-demand Part 135 operations compared to 32 killed in 2019. There were no fatal accidents in the Part 121 air carrier segment for 2020.
According to the NTSB’s data, 2020 flight activity decreased across all segments of U.S. civil aviation with U.S. air carrier operations seeing a 55 percent drop from 19.8 million flight hours in 2019 to 8.9 million last year. Part 135 commuter operations saw a 46 percent drop while Part 135 on-demand operations decreased by 19 percent compared to the previous year. General aviation operations fell from about 21.8 million flight hours in 2019 to 19.5 million in 2020, an 11 percent reduction.
The NTSB emphasized that its 2020 statistics do not include potential reasons for the year’s accidents and fatalities due to ongoing investigations for the time period.