The number of accidents today is significantly lower than a comparable year in the previous decade.
The number of flights on commercial jet aircraft was continuously growing prior to the effects of the pandemic. In spite of this growth, the number of accidents was decreasing each decade.
The number of flights in 2022 was still around 20% lower than the flights operated in 2019. In 2022, there were 2 fatal accidents that were due to vehicles entering the runway. There was a fatal accident, where all passengers and crews lost their lives, which is not recorded because it is yet to be classified.
As the number of accidents and flights will vary each year, accident rates are more relevant than reviewing the number of accidents per year when analyzing trends.
Yearly number of fatal accidents 1959-2022
The rate of fatal accidents is steadily decreasing over time
There were far fewer flights in the 1960s, but a peak in the accident rates is shown due to the lower number of flights and the higher number of accidents recorded during this period. However, the volume of flights over recent decades is sufficient to show that the fatal accident rate is continually decreasing.
Yearly fatal accident rate per million flights
Generation 4 aircraft have the lowest fatal accident rate
Advances in technology have helped to reduce accident rates for each generation
The continual reduction in accident rates has been achieved by an ongoing commitment of the commercial aviation industry to enable a safe aircraft to be safely operated in a safe air transport system.
A notable part of this success is due to effective regulation, a strong safety culture, and improvements in training. Technological advances are also a crucial enabler for enhancing the level of safety. In particular, technologies introduced in aircraft systems intentionally evolved with improving safety as their aim.
A comparison of fatal accident rates by generation of aircraft provides a clear illustration of the value of commercial aviation industry investments in technology to improve safety. Generation 4 aircraft have the lowest accident rate of all. In 2022, the generation 4 fatal accident rate was 0.05 accidents per million flight cycles. This was around 3 times lower than the rate recorded for generation 3 aircraft.
10 year moving average fatal accident rate (per million flights) per aircraft generation