Safe skies

2017: the safest skies record


Deputy Head
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For anyone suffering from aviophobia, a fear of flying, good news: 2017 was the safest year on record for commercial flight. Progress on air safety has been swift. Just a decade ago, 21 accidents resulted in more than 700 fatalities. Compare that with last year, when 10 accidents culminated in the deaths of just 44 passengers, proving that commercial flight is statistically the safest way to travel.

Departures in 2017

We show all the commercial flights that took off in 2017. Each point represents 100 departures.

Breakdown of accidents in 2017

Evolution of flight departures since 1976

There has been a spectacular rise in the number of flights over the past 40 years. In fact, there have only been two years when growth went into reverse; after the events of September 11, 2001, and the economic crisis of 2008.

Accidents and fatalities since 1948

The Aviation Safety Network has recorded aviation incidents since 1946. In this table you can see the steady improvement, from 80 crashes in 1948 to just 10 last year. 2015 had the same number of accidents as 2017, but with a gruesome 537 fatalities. Most of these were the result of deliberate terrorist acts as well as an incident when a pilot committed suicide killing all on board.

Ten most deadly plane crashes

The safest seat

Passengers seated near the tail of a plane are more likely to survive a crash than those sitting at the front.


Here are some of the awards that this graphic has obtained

  • Bronze Medal

    Society For News Design
    Edition 40

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