Fear of Flight: Are plane crashes on the rise?

In the wake of another aircraft malfunction taking place yesterday, recent figures reveal that the rate of aircraft accidents is actually at a historical low.

This morning we woke up to the news of yet another aviation disaster. In the latest of a long string of aircraft involved incidents, the Turkish Airlines Airbus 320 was forced to make an emergency landing at Istanbul’s Ataturk International Airport after one of its engines caught on fire. This time, all passengers on board were returned to the airport terminal safely, after the aircraft stopped by veering off the runway during the emergency landing, Anadolu reports.

[pullquote] “In recent times it feels as if aviation related disasters are more prevalent than ever… [/pullquote]

The incident occurred not even three weeks after a Turkish Airlines passenger jet flying from Dusseldorf in Germany, to Istanbul was made to make an emergency landing in Nuremberg after the cockpit windshield began cracking shortly after take-off.

Plane crash
Photo: Radio Nederland Wereldomroep via Flickr

In recent times it feels as if plane crashes and other aviation related disasters are more prevalent than ever, but up-to-date figures from the Bureau of Aircraft Accident Archives (BAAA) show the total number of fatalities for 2015 so far is at 247, compared to 412 for the same time period last year. The figures from 2014 show that 1,328 people died in aircraft related incidents – the highest annual fatality figures since 2005. Although the figures from 2014 were the highest for almost ten years, the rate of aircraft accidents is actually at a historical low, despite the high death toll seen by the number of high profile crashes, such as the downing of MH17 in Ukraine and the disappearance of Malaysia airlines flight 370. This leaves the rate of accidents for 2014 at the lowest since 1973.

Aeroflot – Russian International Airlines, is the airline who has seen the highest ever death toll compared to any other airline in the world, with 10,130 deaths in total. Air France is next in the list of commercial airways with 1,771 deaths, followed by Pan American World Airways – PAA and American Airways with 1,655 and 1,442 deaths respectively.

plane in flight
150 of the 247 deaths so far this year were victims of the Germanwings A320 flight, which was crashed into the Alps on March 24th. Photo: Stemoc

When it comes to Irish airlines and travelling within Europe, you can all relax. Data collected by airsafe.com, a website that compiles critical information for the travelling public, reveals that both Aer Lingus and Ryanair have had no fatal passenger events in the history of their operations*.


* UPDATE | We have since discovered that the data collected by airsafe.com is incorrect, as  Aer Lingus Flight 712 crashed en route from Cork to London on 24 March 1968 killing all 61 passengers and crew.