According to the Aviation Safety Network, 2017 was the safest year ever for commercial aviation. Airliner accident statistics released on December 30, 2017, show that only a total of 10 fatal airliner accidents occurred. Those 10 accidents resulted in a total of 44 occupant fatalities and 35 persons on the ground.
This data bears stark contrast against 2016. In 2016, the Aviation Safety Network recorded 16 accidents with 303 lives lost.
Of the 10 accidents this past year, five involved cargo planes and five involved commercial passenger turboprop aircraft. There were zero reported commercial passenger jet deaths.
To70, a Dutch aviation consulting firm with offices in Europe, Australia, Asia, and Latin-America, estimates the accident rate for large commercial passenger flights at 0.06 per million, or one fatal accident for every 16 million flights.
The worst aviation accident occurred on January 16, 2017, when a Turkish cargo plane (a Boeing 747) crashed in a residential area in Kyrgyzstan, just outside the Manas airport. Half of the village was destroyed in the crash and 39 individuals were killed in the plane and on the ground.
Also included in the statistics is 12 individuals killed on December 31, 2017, when a Nature Air Cessna 208B Grand Caravan aircraft crashed into a mountainous area near Punta Islita, Costa Rica. This accident, which occurred only minutes after takeoff, had the most onboard fatalities for the year.
What these statistics do not include are accidents involving helicopters and military aircraft.
For U.S. air travel, there were zero reported passenger deaths. In fact, there haven’t been any death on a U.S. passenger airline since 2009. The last fatal passenger jet airliner accident (worldwide) occurred in November 2016 when an Avro RJ85 crashed in Colombia. Seventy-one of seventy-seven people on board died. The last commercial passenger aircraft crash to kill more than 100 people occurred in October 2015 in Egypt.
2017’s low numbers shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise. Aviation-related deaths around the world have been falling over the last two decades. In 2005, for example, the Aviation Safety network recorded 1,015 deaths aboard commercial passenger flights worldwide.