How Safe Was Airline Travel In 2019?

Filed Under: Misc.

There’s not much positive news in the airline industry nowadays, though at least a new report reveals that 2019 was a very safe year for airlines.

How safe was commercial air travel in 2019?

IATA has published their airline safety report for 2019. They publish this on an annual basis, and it’s always a good reminder of just how safe flying is, and even how much progress is being made.

One of the things that makes the report so interesting is that they contrast the results from 2019 to the results from the year prior (2018), as well as to the average of the previous five years (between 2014 and 2018).

So, how did 2019 do? According to this IATA report, very well.

Let’s start with a quick statistic that should be reassuring for anyone scared of flying. The fatality risk for 2019 was 0.09, meaning that, on average:

  • A person would have to travel by air every day for 535 years before experiencing an accident with at least one fatality
  • A person would have to travel by air every day for 29,586 years to experience a 100% fatal accident

Airline safety statistics

Below is a look at the total accidents, accident rate, fatal accidents, and hull loss, broken down by jets and turboprops.

Total accidents:

  • 2019: 53
  • 2018: 63
  • 2014-2018: 63.2

All accident rate:

  • 2019: 1 accident every 884,000 flights
  • 2018: 1 accident every 733,000 flights
  • 2014-2018: 1 accident every 640,000 flights

Fatal accidents:

  • 2019: 8, with 240 fatalities
  • 2018: 11, with 523 fatalities
  • 2014-2018: 8.2, with 303.4 fatalities

Jet hull loss:

  • 2019: 1 hull loss every 6.6 million flights
  • 2018: 1 hull loss every 5.5 million flights
  • 2014-2018: 1 hull loss every 4.1 million flights

Turboprop hull loss:

  • 2019: 1 hull loss every 1.45 million flights
  • 2018: 1 hull loss every 1.42 million flights
  • 2014-2018: 1 hull loss every 714,000 flights

Bottom line

As you can see, flying is extremely safe. I feel like the past couple of years we’ve seen more noteworthy incidents than in some years in the past, but despite that, the statistics  show that 2019 was extremely safe.

Over half of the fatalities in 2019 came from the crash of an Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737 MAX 8, which killed 157 people.

What do you make of the 2019 airline safety statistics?

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