After 2017 was declared the safest year in the history of commercial air travel, the number of people killed in air crashes increased sharply last year. 2018 saw 15 airliner accidents with 556 people losing their lives. That is up from 44 deaths in 2017, according to the Aviation Safety Network. Despite the increase, 2018 is still the third safest year on record for the number of fatal accidents and the ninth for the number of passenger fatalities. Currently, there are an estimated 37.8 million flights worldwide annually and there is an accident rate of one fatal accident per 2.5 million flights.
Enormous progress has been made in making commercial air travel safer and Aviation Safety Network CEO Harro Ranter said that if the accident rate was the same as ten years ago, 2018 would have seen 39 fatal accidents. Looking at 2000 rates, the fatal accident total would stand at 64. Over the past five years, Loss of Control accidents are a major safety concern and were responsible for at least 10 of the worst 25 accidents during that timeframe.
The worst civilian accident of 2018 involved a Lion Air Boeing 737 Max and resulted in the deaths of 189 people. Indonesian air accident investigators later concluded that the aircraft was not airworthy and should have been grounded. Other deadly accidents last year include the crash of another 737 in Cuba with 112 deaths and the crash of a turboprop ATR 72 in Iran’s Zagros mountains that killed all 66 people onboard.