Overview of Aircraft Crashes

Aviation safety has improved dramatically in the last few decades, yet aircraft crashes remain a matter of utmost concern. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation´s 2019 Air Travel Consumer Report, fatal accidents involving U.S. carriers occurred at a rate of 0.07 per 100,000 departures, which was the lowest rate since the report´s inception in 1998. Globally, the number of fatal commercial jet crashes declined from 24 in 2018 to 10 in 2019. Even with these improvements, aircraft crashes still play an important role in aviation safety due to the large sums of money involved in aircraft operations, and the potential for human lives to be affected. As such, understanding how many planes crash a year is valuable for assessing the safety of the global aviation system.

Factors Affecting Airplane Crashes

There are many factors that can contribute to the number of fatal airplane crashes, ranging from the design and upkeep of the plane to the behavior of the pilot. Poor weather conditions and unexpected turbulence are also a factor, as are extreme fatigue or cardiovascular conditions. Additionally, age-related deterioration of the airplane´s components and outdated navigation systems can contribute to an increased risk of crashes. In certain cases, external factors like inattentive air traffic controllers, foreign object damage, and hijacking can also lead to a plane crashing.

Statistics on Airplane Crashes

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is responsible for collecting data on all aviation accidents. The NTSB records all types of aircraft crashes, including those involving general aviation, non-commercial aircraft, and commercial aircraft. According to their data, there were 128 civilian plane crashes in the US in 2019 that resulted in 348 fatalities. The most common cause of these crashes were pilot error or mechanical failure.

Preventative Measures

In order to ensure safe flying for passengers and crew, there are several preventative measures that are being taken. Aircraft maintenance and inspection protocols are more stringent than ever, and advanced prenatal pilot training is mandatory for all commercial pilots. Air traffic controllers are also subject to stress and alertness management tests, which help them better manage air traffic. There is also ongoing research into building aircraft with better materials and components, in order to reduce the likelihood of structural damage or failure.


Aviation safety has improved dramatically in the past few decades, and the number of fatal aircraft crashes worldwide has been decreasing. However, understanding how many planes crash a year remains important for evaluating the safety of the aviation industry and implementing new safety protocols. With proper safety protocols in place, and more advanced aircraft technology becoming available, the number of aircraft crashes will continue to decline, providing a safer experience for passengers.

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