“If you take one flight a day, you would on average need to fly every day for 55,000 years before being involved in a fatal crash.”

These are the words of Arnold Barnett, who has calculated the chances of a plane crashing, and is an expert in the field of aviation safety and risk and Professor of Statistics at MIT.

It’s definitely reassuring to hear that the chances of being involved in a fatal plane crash are exceptionally low. Some more good news is that flying keeps on getting safer and safer.

In fact, it has currently never been safer to fly on commercial airlines when we consider that airline passenger fatalities have fallen significantly compared to the previous decade.

But how do the chances of a plane crashing compare to being involved in a car crash, how likely are you to survive a plane crash, should you be scared of turbulence?

These are just some of the questions passengers want answered.

In this article, we also take a closer look at some important statistics concerning plane crashes and fatalities, as well as what the numbers say about whether the type of aircraft and airline you fly with makes a difference to the odds of crashing.

What Are the Chances of a Plane Crashing?

The following statistics only include crashes of airliners – i.e. aircraft used for commercial travel. We have limited the data from 2010 to 2021.

Plane Crashes by Year

Despite the total number of passengers having increased from 2.7 billion in 2010 to 4.5 billion in 2019, you can see that the number of plane crashes a year has largely remained steady or even decreased.

In other words, the chances of a plane crashing is the lowest it has ever been in the history of commercial aviation.

Here are the statistics for how often planes crash over the last decade:

  • 2021: 5 accidents
  • 2020: 10 accidents
  • 2019: 14 accidents
  • 2018: 18 accidents
  • 2017: 5 accidents
  • 2016: 11 accidents
  • 2015: 17 accidents
  • 2014: 14 accidents
  • 2013: 16 accidents
  • 2012: 14 accidents
  • 2011: 17 accidents
  • 2010: 17 accidents

Plane Crash Deaths by Year

Again, considering the total number of passengers has almost doubled in the previous decade, the following statistics show a reassuring trend.

  • 2021: 74 fatalities
  • 2020: 303 fatalities
  • 2019: 214 fatalities
  • 2018: 422 fatalities
  • 2017: 12 fatalities
  • 2016: 249 fatalities
  • 2015: 471 fatalities
  • 2014: 863 fatalities
  • 2013: 188 fatalities
  • 2012: 389 fatalities
  • 2011: 145 fatalities
  • 2010: 647 fatalities
An American Airlines plane in the aftermath of a plane crash
An American Airlines plane in the aftermath of a plane crash

Plane Crashes by Aircraft

If you’re wondering which aircraft model is the most likely to crash, then you might be interested in the following data.

However, keep in mind that some aircraft, such as the Boeing 737, are hugely popular and widely used in commercial aviation, so the statistics do not necessarily indicate that one aircraft is more dangerous to fly on than the other.

All aircraft, regardless of model and variant, are built to exceptionally high safety standards.

  • Boeing 737: 149 accidents
  • Boeing 747: 49 accidents
  • Airbus A300: 33 accidents
  • Airbus A320: 28 accidents
  • Boeing 737 NG / Max: 27 accidents
  • Boeing 767: 15 accidents
  • Canadair Regional Jet: 13 accidents
  • Airbus A330: 9 accidents
  • Boeing 757: 9 accidents
  • Dash 8: 9 accidents
  • Airbus 310: 8 accidents
  • Fokker 70/100: 8 accidents
  • Airbus A321: 7 accidents
  • Boeing 777: 7 accidents
  • Embraer 120 Brasilia: 7 accidents
  • Fokker 50: 6 accidents
  • Airbus A340: 5 accidents
  • Embraer 135/145: 5 accidents
  • Embraer 190/195: 4 accidents
  • Airbus A319: 1 accident
Boeing 737 Delta plane
The Boeing 737 has been involved in the most crashes and fatalities

Plane Crashes by Country

*Only countries that have had5 or more plane accidents have been included.

  • USA: 76 accidents
  • India: 21 accidents
  • Indonesia: 21 accidents
  • Brazil: 18 accidents
  • China: 15 accidents
  • France: 15 accidents
  • Taiwan: 13 accidents
  • Canada: 12 accidents
  • Turkey: 12 accidents
  • Libya: 10 accidents
  • Russia: 10 accidents
  • Nigeria: 9 accidents
  • Thailand: 9 accidents
  • Colombia: 8 accidents
  • Italy: 8 accidents
  • Japan: 8 accidents
  • Spain: 8 accidents
  • Argentina: 7 accidents
  • Iran: 7 accidents
  • Pakistan: 7 accidents
  • Peru: 7 accidents
  • South Korea: 7 accidents
  • UAE: 7 accidents
  • Germany: 6 accidents
  • Malaysia: 6 accidents
  • Egypt: 5 accidents
  • Iraq: 5 accidents
  • Philippines: 5 accidents
  • Somalia: 5 accidents

Plane Crashes by Airline

Unlike some of the other statistics on this page whereby the more popular the airliner the more likely the odds of it crashing, this isn’t the case with airlines.

In other words, there is not necessarily a correlation between how popular an airline is and how often one of its planes has crashed, though some airlines are more dangerous than others.

For example, despite their popularity, British Airways has only ever been involved in one plane crash.

If you live in the USA, you can see that some of the most popular airlines feature on this list, including Southwest Airlines, American Airlines, and United Airlines while others including Delta, JetBlue, and Alaska Airlines do not.

*Only airlines that have had 4 or more plane accidents have been included.

  • Air France: 11 accidents
  • American Airlines: 11 airlines
  • Indian Airlines: 10 accidents
  • China Airlines: 9 accidents
  • Korean Air: 9 accidents
  • Pakistan International Airlines: 8 accidents
  • United Airlines: 7 airlines
  • Egyptair: 6 accidents
  • Ethiopian Airlines: 6 accidents
  • Thai Airways: 6 accidents
  • VASP: 6 accidents
  • American Eagle: 5 accidents
  • Continental Airlines: 5 accidents
  • Lufthansa: 5 accidents
  • Asiana Airlines: 4 accidents
  • Garuda: 4 accidents
  • Iran Air: 4 accidents
  • Kuwait Airways: 4 accidents
  • Libyan Arab Airlines: 4 accidents
  • Pan Am: 4 accidents
  • Southwest Airlines: 3 accidents

Related: What Airline Has Had the Most Crashes? (US, Worldwide, Europe)

Air France 447 crash wreckage
Wreckage from the Air France 447 crash

The Odds of Surviving a Plane Crash

While there isn’t necessarily a clear-cut answer, as it depends on the circumstances of the crash, the US National Transportation Safety Board reviewed aviation accidents from 1983-1999 and found that more than 95% of passengers survived accidents, including 55% in the most serious incidents.

Therefore, if you are unfortunate enough to be involved in a plane crash, take comfort in knowing that you are much more likely to survive a plane crash than not.

How to Increase Your Chances of Surviving a Plane Crash

There is nothing you can do to substantially increase your odds of surviving a plane crash, though the safest place to sit on a plane is in one of the back rows.

Making sure that you are wearing your seatbelt, and not wearing flammable clothes may all marginally help.

Chances of a Plane Crash vs. Car Crash

According to the NSC (National Safety Council), the odds of dying in a car crash as a driver are 1 in 114, and 1 in 654 as a passenger.

The odds of dying in a plane crash are 1 in 9,821, though this accounts for both general aviation, that includes small planes, and commercial aviation.

If you are reading this article, you are probably more interested in the chances of a plane crashing on your next commercial flight, though.

So let’s take a look a closer look at the statistics for plane crashes by year, aircraft, country, and airline.

Plane Crashes Occur Daily

According to an FAA study, there are approximately 5 plane crashes a day. However, this statistic includes general aviation, with commercial planes very rarely crashing.

If we look at the numbers, there are 0.028 commercial plane crashes a day.

If we look at commercial aviation and look at the statistics for the last five years, we can see that there are approximately 10 plane crashes a year.

Ella Dunham, a Freelance Travel Journalist and Marketing Manager, boasts an impressive career spanning eight years in the travel and tourism sectors.

Honored as one of "30 Under 30" by TTG Media (the world’s very first weekly travel trade newspaper), a "Tour Operator Travel Guru" and "Legend Award" winner, Ella is also a Fellow of the Institute of Travel, a Member of the Association of Women Travel Executives, has completed over 250 travel modules, and hosts travel-focused segments on national radio shows where she provides insights on travel regulations and destinations.

Ella has visited over 40 countries (with 10 more planned this year).