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Air transportation safety in the U.S. - statistics & facts

Although the United States has the largest air transportation market in the world, it also is one of the safest countries in the world in which to fly. Considering only commercial passenger transportation, there has not been a fatal accident in the U.S. between 2013 and 2018; since the year 2000, the rate of fatal accidents has never risen been above 0.03 accidents per 100,000 departures in any single year. Given that U.S. air carriers generally perform over nine million departures per year, the chances of being in a fatal aircraft accident in the U.S. are very low. This remains the case not only for fatalities, but also for serious injuries occurring on board commercial flights in the U.S.

Accidents in general aviation

Air transportation safety is not limited only to commercial travel though. The United States also has the largest global market for private and business flights, which are sadly more dangerous than commercial travel. In every year of this decade there have been somewhere between 300 and 500 fatalities from accidents in the general aviation sector, excluding flights for commercial transportation. Fortunately though, the total number of accidents in this sector has been steadily decreasing since 2000. And, even when the general aviation sector is included, the odds of dying in an aircraft accident in the United States are nearly 2,000 times lower than the odds of dying in a motor vehicle accident.

Security measures

Also included under air transportation safety are the activities carried out at airports to prevent dangerous passengers and goods from entering aircraft. Owing to the country’s high level of gun ownership, screening for firearms is an important activity at U.S. airports, with thousands of guns being confiscated annually. U.S. travelers have mixed views on the effectiveness of security at U.S. airports though. While a majority people believe there is sufficient security at U.S. airports, only a minority are confident that the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) would catch a terrorist trying to board an aircraft.

COVID-19 impact on the safety of air travel

As a response to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, since the beginning of 2020 more and more countries across the globe shut down borders, thus cancelling all international flights to contain the spread of the virus. This was also the case for the United States, with daily passenger numbers at TSA checkpoints shrinking. This had a hard impact not only on the aviation industry but also on the decision making for people to travel. In a recent survey, 80 percent of U.S. air travelers mentioned thermal scanning would improve their confidence at the boarding gate, while 84 percent of them think the reallocation of empty seats for distancing would make them feel more confident during a flight. When it comes their airline choice, cabin cleanness is an important factor when choosing an airline to fly with in the United States.

Interesting statistics

In the following 4 chapters, you will quickly find the 25 most important statistics relating to "Air transportation safety in the U.S.".


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