Commercial Aircraft Deaths Rose in 2018

However, experts reassure travelers that fatal plane crashes are still rare.


Image via Getty/Nicolas Economou/NurPhoto


Last year wasn't the greatest for aviation safety.

According to Reuters, airlines recorded a sizable increase in the number of people killed in airplane crashes. The outlet cites data by Dutch consulting firm To70 as well as the Aviation Safety Network. Both entities confirm there were more than 500 fatalities resulting from passenger airline crashes last year, marking a 900 percent increase from 2017's numbers. It's also the highest rate since 2014, when nearly 700 people died in aviation crashes. 

The ASN reports there were 16 airliner accidents around the world, killing a total of 555 people as of Dec. 27, 2018. Reuters reports there were two fatal crashes in 2017, resulting in 13 deaths worldwide; however, the outlet notes that both crashes involved regional turboprop aircraft.

2018's deadliest plane crash occurred in late October near Tanjung Bungin, Indonesia, where Lion Air Flight 610 went down; the accident resulted in 189 deaths. Back in May, Cubana de Aviación Flight 972 crashed shortly after takeoff, killing 112 people on board. About a month prior, Southwest Airlines Flight 1380 made an emergency landing after an engine explosion that killed one passenger; this marked the first fatal accident involving a U.S.-based carrier since 2009.

Forbes also reports that from Feb. 11 to March 12, 195 people died in a series of crashes in Russia, Iran, and Nepal. 

Though these figures might be unsettling, experts reassure travelers that commercial airliner crashes remain extremely rare.

"If the accident rate had remained the same as 10 years ago, there would have been 39 fatal accidents last year,” Aviation Safety Network’s chief executive, Harro Ranter, said in a statement to Reuters. "This shows the enormous progress in terms of safety in the past two decades."

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