- More than half of the world’s fatal plane crashes last year happened in North America.
- New figures from the Aviation Safety Network found that 11 of the world’s 20 fatal airline incidents in 2019 happened on the continent.
- A combined 283 people aboard aircraft were killed in these 20 incidents.
- The report said that 2019 had a “markedly higher number of accidents” compared with the past five years but that the number of fatalities was much lower than the average over those years.
- The lower number of deaths meant 2019 was “one of the safest years ever for commercial aviation,” the report found.
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North America had more deadly plane crashes in 2019 than anywhere else in the world, with more than half of the world’s fatal crashes taking place on the continent, according to a report from an aviation-safety firm.
The Aviation Safety Network, an independent, Netherlands-based monitoring site, found that there were 20 fatal airliner incidents over the year and that, “surprisingly,” 11 of these were in North America.
Of those 11 deadly crashes, the ASN said, five were in remote parts of Canada and Alaska, which it said was “an area of concern.”
Just one deadly crash occurred in the US in 2018, while there were three in 2017.
The ASN said the figures showed 2019 to be "one of the safest years ever for commercial aviation" but warned that the number of incidents had increased, even as the number of fatalities fell compared with recent years.
A combined 283 people aboard aircraft were killed in the 20 incidents globally.
Separate figures from the aviation consulting firm To70 found that the number of people killed in major commercial plane crashes over the same period fell by more than 50% from 2018.
To70 found that 257 people were killed last year in crashes of large commercial planes, a figure that included deaths of people who were not flying on the planes.
The ASN said its figures showed that 2019 was "the seventh-safest year ever by the number of fatal accidents and the third-safest in terms of fatalities." (ASN used the word "accidents" interchangeably with "crashes.")
It said 2017 was the safest-ever year, with 10 accidents and 44 people killed.
It said 2019 had a "markedly higher number of accidents" compared with the average of the past five years, which is 14 accidents and 480 people killed a year.
Thirteen of the year's incidents involved passenger fights, and six involved cargo flights.
"Given the estimated worldwide air traffic of about 39 million flights, the accident rate is one fatal accident per almost 2 million flights," it said.
Harro Ranter, the CEO of the ASN, said the figures showed a trend toward greater safety.
"If the accident rate had remained the same as 10 years ago, there would have been 34 fatal accidents last year," he said.
"At the accident rate of the year 2000, there would even have been 65 fatal accidents. This shows the enormous progress in terms of safety in the past two decades."
The biggest crash of the year in terms of deaths was the Ethiopian Airlines crash in Ethiopia in March, which killed all 157 people on board. It was the second fatal crash involving the Boeing 737 Max plane. The crash led to the plane's grounding around the world, which is still ongoing.
The crashes in North America included an Amazon Prime Air Boeing 767 in Texas in February, which killed three people, and an Alkan Air Cessna 208B in Canada's Yukon territory in August, which killed two people.