Fall in air traffic reduced airline accidents in 2020

According to Aviation Safety Network, eight accidents with passenger planes killed 315 people last year

The year 2020 was marked by a sharp reduction in the number of accidents involving passenger aircraft. According to the Aviation Safety Network, which records occurrences with commercial airplanes with a capacity of more than 14 passengers and freighters, eight accidents occurred during the year with the loss of 315 lives.

Last year’s biggest air disaster, however, was triggered by a military error in Iran, whose defense force targeted a Boeing 737-800 by Ukraine International Airlines in Tehran, killing 176 people.

Unfortunaltely, in May an EMB-120 turboprop was hit by a rocket launched by Ethiopian military personnel. The African Express Airways aircraft crashed near Somalia’s El Bardale airport, killing six occupants.

Two accidents in India and Pakistan have also contributed to raising the number of deaths. Also in May, an Pakistan International Airlines A320 crashed near Karachi airport, with 98 dead and two survivors. Three months later, an Air India Express Boeing 737-800 suffered a runway excursion when it landed at Kozhikode International Airport in India, killing 21 people.

African Express Airways EMB-120 was shot down by rockets in Somalia (Alan Wilson)

According to the Aviation Safety Network, in 2019 there were 20 fatal accidents with 283 deaths. The figures for 2020, however, occurred in a scenario in which air traffic fell by about 50%, which places the year among the worst of the decade. “2020 was the safest year ever by number of fatal accidents, for a large part due to the Covid-19 impact on aviation, which caused a roughly 50% decrease in the number of flights”, said ASN.

The average number of accidents and fatalities has fallen despite variations such as 2020. Since 1993, the five-year average has dropped from 50 to 15 fatal accidents, according to the ASN. In the website’s records, the worst year of commercial aviation occurred in 1948, with 80 accidents.


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