How Many Planes Crash A Year? Statistical Overview, Root Causes, Industry Analysis, Personal Stories, Investigation Results, Public Perception, and a Traveler’s Guide


Plane crashes are a tragedy that can impact countless individuals, their families, and communities. Knowing the details and scope of the issue can help us understand the risks and devise strategies to minimize them. This article aims to provide you with an informative and friendly overview of the statistics, root causes, industry analysis, personal stories, investigation results, public perception, and a traveler’s guide to minimize risks and avoid potential plane crashes.

Statistical Overview

According to data from the Aviation Safety Network, there were 40 accidents involving large commercial planes in 2020, resulting in 299 fatalities. This represents an increase from the previous year when there were 86 accidents reported, with 257 fatalities.

The numbers vary based on geographical location, with the majority of accidents occurring in Africa, followed by the Asia-Pacific region, South America, North America, and Europe, respectively.

Airbus, Boeing, and McDonnell Douglas were the three most frequently involved manufacturers in accidents, with technical problems being the leading cause of the accidents, closely followed by pilot error and other human-related factors. The types of accidents range from collision with terrain to fire, loss of control, and other miscellaneous types, leaving no single category as the leading cause of accidents.

Root Causes

Pilot error is often a primary factor in potential plane crashes. Inadequate training and fatigue can lead to poor decision-making skills and impair judgment. Equipment malfunction and weather hazards such as storms, turbulence, and visibility challenges can also affect the safety of aircraft.

Recent examples of notable crashes due to diverse causes include the Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302, which crashed after takeoff due to a malfunction with the plane’s automated system, the Germanwings Flight 9525, which crashed en route due to pilot suicide, and the MH370 Malaysian Airlines flight, which crashed due to an unknown cause, leading to speculation of sabotage or terrorism.

Industry Analysis

The aviation industry has undergone significant advancements in technology that enhance safety, including collision avoidance systems, advanced sensors, and various radar systems. Governments worldwide have also implemented regulations to bolster aviation safety, including strict protocols around training, maintenance, inspections, and weather analysis.

Despite these advancements and regulations, airline safety still needs improvement in certain areas, such as addressing the issue of pilot fatigue and enhancing communication between the crew and Air Traffic Control (ATC).

Personal Stories

The impact of plane crashes can be truly devastating, and individuals who survive these incidents or lose loved ones often have unique perspectives on the dangers and risks associated with air travel. Stories from survivors and family members of the deceased can help shed light on the human impact of these tragedies.

For example, Cecelia Cichan, the lone survivor of the Northwest Flight 255, which crashed in Michigan in 1987, shared in an interview her experience leading up to the flight, the crash itself, and the harrowing aftermath that shaped the rest of her life.

Investigation Results

Since the beginning of aviation, investigations have led to improvements in safety. Recent investigations into plane crashes have highlighted potential safety concerns and led to changes in safety protocols, enhanced training procedures, and better technology. For example, following the tragic crash of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, countries worldwide agreed to establish stricter rules around the operation of civilian aircraft in areas of conflict, enhancing safety for all passengers.

Public Perception

Public perception of plane crashes and aviation safety can shape industry practices moving forward, so understanding how individuals perceive these events is crucial.

Despite a certain level of fear around flying, the majority of the public has a positive perception of the safety record of the airline industry in general. However, when aviation accidents make headlines, it can cause widespread panic and concern, impacting the industry’s reputation and leading to changes in procedures and regulations.

Traveler’s Guide

Travelers can take steps to minimize their risk by taking extra precautionary measures and understanding their rights and the industry statistics and best practices around aviation safety. This includes reviewing safety procedures on-board, selecting airlines with solid safety records, and identifying the risks associated with specific types of flights. In the unlikely event of a crash, passengers are generally advised to follow protocols such as keeping the seatbelt fastened, knowing where the nearest exits and emergency procedures are, and listening to onboard instruction from airline personnel.


Plane crashes are a devastating and complex issue that requires a multifaceted approach. By exploring statistics, root causes, industry analysis, personal stories, investigation results, public perception, and traveler’s guides, we can better understand the risks associated with air travel and how to minimize them. Education, preparation, and proactive government and industry initiatives can all play a role in promoting safety and ensuring that air travel remains a viable and safe means of transportation.

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