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Despite recent scares, air travel crashes down worldwide, data shows

You truly have less than a 1-in-a-million chance of being involved in a plane accident, an improvement from recent years.
Despite recent scares, air travel crashes down worldwide, data shows
Posted at 12:28 PM, Mar 01, 2024
and last updated 2024-03-01 14:28:49-05

Even amid fears over air travel safety due to incidents involving Boeing 737 Max jets, runway close calls and other incidents, the International Air Transportation Association released new data that 2023 was among the safest years on record for air travel. 

The organization says worldwide, there were 30 total accidents involving passenger jets, down from 42 a year earlier. The reduction in accidents came even with a 17% rise in total flights between 2022 and 2023. 

Passenger air travel nearly went the entire year without a fatal accident. The only fatal accident on a major jet happened in January 2023 when 72 people died on board a Yeti Airlines flight in Nepal. The IATA's report says that crash was due to the feathering of both propellers and subsequent loss of thrust, leading to an aerodynamic stall.

Among the 29 non-fatal accidents reported in 2023, landing gear failure was the leading cause, resulting in nine incidents. Ground damage and tail strikes each resulted in five accidents in 2023. There were four accidents as a result of hard landings. 

Adverse weather was a contributing factor in 20% of crashes, while aircraft malfunctions were involved in 23% of accidents. Human errors were a factor in 27% of accidents.

"2023 safety performance continues to demonstrate that flying is the safest mode of transport. Aviation places its highest priority on safety and that shows in the 2023 performance. Jet operations saw no hull losses or fatalities. 2023 also saw the lowest fatality risk and ‘all accident’ rate on record. A single fatal turboprop accident with 72 fatalities, however, reminds us that we can never take safety for granted. And two high-profile accidents in the first month of 2024 show that, even if flying is among the safest activities a person can do, there is always room to improve. This is what we have done throughout our history. And we will continue to make flying ever safer,” said Willie Walsh, IATA’s director general.

SEE MORE: FAA gives Boeing 90 days to create plan to improve safety, quality

From 2019 through 2023, there have been an average of 38 accidents per year, with five of those being fatal in a given year. 

In 2023, there were 0.8 accidents per 1 million flights. In 2022, there were 1.3 accidents per million flights. 


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