Commercial scheduled air travel is among the safest modes of transportation; the 2020 lifetime odds of dying as an aircraft passenger in the United States were too small to calculate. The disruptions resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic dramatically impacted commercial air travel in 2020. Miles flown by commercial scheduled airlines decreased 57% in 2020 compared to 2019. Reflecting this decrease in miles flown, preliminary estimates of the total number of accidents involving a U.S. registered civilian aircraft decreased from 1,301 in 2019 to 1,139 in 2020. The number of civil aviation deaths decreased from 452 in 2019 to 349 in 2020. All but one of the 349 deaths in 2020 were onboard fatalities. None of these deaths involved a commercial airline.
Use the interactive chart to explore aviation accident trends by U.S. air carrier category. Major airlines (scheduled service) experienced no onboard fatality and a fatal accident rate of 0.0 per 100,000 flight hours in 2020. This contrasts sharply with general aviation, which experienced 323 onboard deaths and a fatal accident rate of 1.049 per 100,000 flight hours.
- Data Table