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IATA details 2020 airline safety performance

Flying is safe, although the industry did take a step back on performance in 2020

  • The total number of accidents decreased from 52 in 2019 to 38 in 2020
  • The total number of fatal accidents decreased from 8 in 2019 to 5 in 2020
  • Fatality risk remained unchanged compared to the five-year average at 0.13

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) announced the publication of the 2020 Safety Report and released data for the 2020 safety performance of the commercial airline industry. 

  • The total number of accidents decreased from 52 in 2019 to 38 in 2020. 
  •  The total number of fatal accidents decreased from 8 in 2019 to 5 in 2020. 
  • The all accident rate was 1.71 accidents per million flights. This is higher than the 5-year (2016-2020) average rate which is 1.38 accidents per million flights.
  •  IATA member airlines’ accident rate was 0.83 per million flights, which was an improvement over the 5-year average rate of 0.96. 
  • Total flight operations reduced by 53% to 22 million in 2020. 
  • Fatality risk remained unchanged compared to the five-year average at 0.13.

With a fatality risk of 0.13 for air travel, on average, a person would have to travel by air every day for 461 years before experiencing an accident with at least one fatality. On average, a person would have to travel every day for 20,932 years to experience a 100% fatal accident.

“Flying is safe, although the industry did take a step back on performance in 2020. The severe reduction in flight numbers magnified the impact of each accident when we calculate rates. But numbers don’t lie, and we will not allow this to become a trend. We will have even sharper focus on safety during this period of reduced operations and as flight schedules are rebuilt when the world reopens,” said Alexandre de Juniac, IATA’s Director General and CEO. 

For the first time in more than 15 years there were no Loss of Control Inflight (LOC-I) accidents, which have accounted for the largest share of fatalities since 2016.