Data Shows Fewer Fixed-Wing Commercial Aircraft Crashed In The Past Decade
There have been 152 accidents involving fixed-wing commercial aircraft worldwide between 2012 and 2021. This is more than a 50% drop compared to the 384 crashes between 2002 and 2011.
Three Boeing aircraft and a single Airbus crashed in 2019, including the Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 737 MAX 8 which crashed shortly after take-off, killing 157 people aboard. That was the second MAX accident in less than five months, following the Lion Air crash in Indonesia that occurred on October 29th, 2018. Two years later, a single Airbus A320 operated by Pakistan International Airlines crashed in May of 2020 in Karachi killed 98 people. All accident aircraft were noted with system and human-interface issues.
When manufacturers develop aircraft, they are required to perform a myriad of hazard assessments including system safety assessments, to identify and evaluate risks. These model-driven analyses go beyond obvious concerns, such as the ramifications if a component or system fails and evaluates how human interaction might affect various failure scenarios. As the Boeing 737 MAX certification demonstrated, wrong assumptions can be catastrophic.
In recent years, the FAA has renewed its call for manufacturers and repair stations to have safety management systems (SMS) that may flag risks “that current safety processes might not effectively mitigate.” The agency is also working on an SMS mandate that would apply to manufacturers and certified maintenance providers and expects to have a draft out this year.