Afraid of flight?

Do you think commercial aviation is a safe or an ULTRA-safe industry?

An industry is call ULTRA SAFE when it experience less than a catastrophic event per million production cycles , and commercial aviation can be considered the first industrial ULTRASAFE industry in history.

But how safe is aviation as compare with other modes of transport .  Let's have a look at some statistics about:


source (The risks of travel. The site cites the source as an October 2000 article by Roger Ford in the magazine Modern Railways and based on a DETR survey.)

The table above express the risk of fatality in several modes of transport, calculated during the period from 1990 to2000.  3 different units are used:

– deaths per billion typical journeys taken,

– deaths per billion hours travelled,

– deaths per billion kilometers traveled.

If you check for Air transport, it seems to be the safer mode of transport only according to the statistics on the 3rd column.

Statistics on the first two columns have been calculated considering average travels in each mode of transport. Using these statistics to benchmark the risks of fatality in different forms of transport can lead to incorrect conclusions.  The risk of a normal  flight from Madrid to  Moscu cannot be directly compared to the risk a car travel from home to office, as the "exposition" (duration / distance) is quite different from one to another.  You might however compare a flight from Madrid to Moscu with a car drive from Madrid to Moscu.   Then you will find that the risk of a fatality travelling from Madrid to Moscu  is 62 les times lower by flight  than by car.

According to the International Air Transport Association (IATA), the 2015 global jet accident rate (measured in hull losses per 1 million flights) was 0.32, which was the equivalent of one major accident for every 3.1 million flights. This was not as good as the rate of 0.27 achieved in 2014 but a 30% improvement compared to the previous five-year rate (2010-2014) of 0.46 hull loss .

this figure of 0,32 jet accidents per 1 million of fligths  ( 32*10^-8 accident rate) means  that if we took a flight every day, we would have a chance of an accident every 8500 years.

These figures are significant considering that in 2015 operated 37,6 million commercial flights.  This also means, by multiplying the rate of accidents by the total  number of commercial flight s in the year it gives a total of around 12 jet accidents.

The odds of  being struck by lightning in a given year is equal to 1/1.190.000 = 0,84*10^-8, more than to times the probability of a jet accident, so we hope you now better understand why people say that it is more probable to die struck by lightning than in an aviation accident.


Posted by:

Javier Perez Castán (

Rosana Duarte Díaz (

Nazmia Humaira (

Dinesh Babu Seenivasan (