Most of 2019’s Deadly Plane Accidents Were in North America

(Bloomberg) -- The number of fatal aviation accidents in 2019 rose above the five-year average to 20, with more than half occurring in North America, the Aviation Safety Network said.

The 20 crashes killed 283 people, with the bulk of the deaths coming from the Ethiopian Airlines disaster in March, when a Boeing Co. 737 Max jet plunged into the ground shortly after takeoff, killing all 157 people on board. That led to the global grounding of the jet.

Last year’s total included 11 accidents in North America, compared to just one in that region in 2018 and three in 2017, the Aviation Safety Network said. There were 15 accidents worldwide in 2018.

Still, based on the number of overall fatalities, 2019 was the third-safest year ever, the network said.

The five-year average is 14 accidents and 480 fatalities, the Netherlands-based organization said. Last year’s figures suggest one fatal accident per almost two million flights, it said. The organization’s statistics are for civil aircraft certified to carry 14 or more passengers.

Five of the accidents in North America last year occurred in rugged parts of Alaska and Canada, the Aviation Network said. “Despite progress made through various safety initiatives by Canadian and U.S. regulators, this still is an area of concern,” it said.

The Ethiopian Airlines crash was the second involving Boeing’s 737 Max within months, following a Lion Air disaster the previous October. The events thrust aviation safety under the spotlight and led to criticism of Boeing, the Federal Aviation Administration and airlines.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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