The number of passengers and crew killed in plane crashes increased sharply in 2018, according to analysis by Dutch aviation consulting firm To70 and the Aviation Safety Network.
There were more than 500 deaths stemming from passenger airline crashes in 2018, according to both groups.
This compares to 13 deaths in 2017 in two fatal crashes worldwide, both aboard regional turboprop aircraft.
This represents an increase of more than 3,700% year-on-year, but experts have been quick to point out that the aviation industry remains one of the safest forms of travel.
To70 estimated that the fatal accident rate for large commercial passenger flights in 2018 at 0.36 per million flights, or one fatal accident for every 3m flights.
That is up from 2017’s 0.06 per million flight rate and above the most recent five-year average of 0.24 per million flights.
“If the accident rate had remained the same as 10 years ago, there would have been 39 fatal accidents last year,” Aviation Safety Network’s chief executive, Harro Ranter, said in a statement. “This shows the enormous progress in terms of safety in the past two decades.”
Over the last two decades, aviation deaths around the world have been falling. As recently as 2005, there were 1,015 deaths aboard commercial passenger flights worldwide, the Aviation Safety Network said.
Despite the increase, 2018 was still the third safest year ever in terms of the number of fatal accidents and the ninth safest measured by deaths, the Aviation Safety Network said.
There were four major aviation incidents in 2018.
On 29 October, a Lion Air-operated Boeing 737 MAX 8 crashed into the Java Sea after takeoff from Jakarta, killing 189 people.
In May, a Cubana flight of a Boeing 737-201 crashed just outside Havana airport, killing 112 people. In March, 51 of 71 on board died after a US-Bangla Airlines plane crashed on landing at Nepal’s international airport.
In February, a plane operated by Saratov Airlines crashed in Russia after taking off from Stepanovskoye, killing all 71 people aboard, while the same month an Aseman Airlines flight crashed into a mountain in Iran, killing 66 people onboard.
The United States suffered its first accident death involving a US airline since 2009 in April, when a fan blade on a Southwest Airlines Co Boeing 737’s jet engine broke apart in flight, shattering a window and nearly sucking a woman out of the plane.