2015 was the safest year in aviation history

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With two high-profile disasters resulting in the deaths of 374 people, one could be forgiven for thinking that 2015 was among the deadliest years in the history of aviation.

Far from it. The crashes of a Germanwings A320 in March, deliberately caused by the co-pilot Andreas Lubitz, and a Metrojet A321 in October, due to a suspected bomb, account for the vast majority of last year’s aviation fatalities. According to the Aviation Safety Network (ASN), there were 14 other fatal crashes in 2015, resulting in 186 deaths, making a total of 560. Take away those two deliberate crashes, and it would have been the least deadly year for aviation since ASN’s records began. Indeed, when you count up the number of accidents resulting in fatalities, 2015 was the safest ever year for flying.

ASN stats

What about 2014? With a string of disasters involving Malaysia Airlines (two crashes and 537 deaths), AirAsia (162 deaths), Air Algerie (116), TransAsia Airways (48) and Sepahan Airlines (39), surely it must be a contender for the worst year? The total for 2014 of 990 deaths was the highest for a decade, but some way off the record. It should also be noted that there were only 21 fatal accidents that year, the lowest on record (until 2015, that is).

ASN crash-2014-graphic_3542657b

To find the deadliest year in aviation history, one must go back to 1972. That year saw a remarkable 2,370 deaths and 72 fatal accidents. There were 11 crashes that saw at least 100 perish, including four Aeroflot flights, and others involving Iberia, Sterling Airways, Alitalia, British European Airways, Interflug, Spantax and Eastern Air Lines.

By Oliver Smith via The Telegraph

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