2020 airline safety and security review

There were three events that involved the death of at least one airlne passengers, plus 14 significant events, five of which involved fatalities, and two of which involved commercial spacecraft.

COVID-19 pandemic and its effect on air travel
The COVID-19 pandemic, caused by several variants of the coronavirus, caused significant worldwide disruption of air travel, including the grounding of thousands of airliners around the world due to a significant drop in demand in the first quarter of the year. That reduced demand continued for the rest of the year and into 2021, when effective vaccines became broadly available.

Highlights of 2020
This review includes important safety or security related occurrences from 2020, including the following:

  • NBA legend Kobe Bryant killed in a helicopter crash - Retired Los Angeles Laker Kobe Bryant, one of his children, and seven others were killed in a helicopter crash.
  • Airliner accidentally shot down - Iran accidentally shot down a 737 shortly after takeoff from Tehran, after an Iranian military unit mistook the aircraft as an incoming cruise missle.
  • More fatal events - In 2020, there were four fatal events, compared to three in 2019.

There are two types of events in this review, numbered events and significant events. Numbered events must meet the following criteria:

  • There is at least one passenger fatality,
  • The flight was open to the general public, and
  • The aircraft was a large jet or turboprop driven model that is typically used in airline service.

Significant events are those that don't meet the criteria for a numbered event, but would likely be of interest to airline passengers and the aviation safety and security community. These events may include non-fatal airline accidents, events unrelated to an airline flight, hijackings, military actions, criminal activities, or acts of sabotage.

Definitions used by AirSafe.com

  1. 8 January 2020; Ukraine International Airlines 737-800; UR-PSR; flight PS752; Tehran, Iran: The aircraft was on a scheduled international flight from Tehran, Iran to Kyiv (Kiev), Ukraine. Shortly after takeoff, the aircraft was damaged by a surface to air missile that was inadvertently launched by the Iranian military. The aircraft lost contact with air traffic control, and was turning back toward the airport when it lost altitude and crashed in a residential area. All nine crew members and 167 passengers were killed. No one on the ground was injured or killed.
    Boeing 737 plane crashes
    Other crashes involving airlines of the former Soviet Union
    Passenger deaths to to missiles and gunfire

    26 January 2020; Sikorsky S-76B helicopter; N72EZX; Calabasas, CA: A helicopter carrying former NBA player Kobe Bryant, his daughter Gianna, and seven others crashed north of Los Angeles in Calabasas, CA about 45 minutes after taking off from Santa Ana, CA south of Los Angeles. All nine on board were killed, but the crash occurred in a wooded area and no one else was injured or killed. No one on the ground was injured or killed.
    More on this event
    Other celebrity plane crashes

  2. 5 February 2020; Pegasus Airlines 737-800; TC-IZK; flight PC2193; Istanbul, Turkey: The aircraft was on a scheduled domestic flight from Izmir to Istanbul, Turkey. The aircraft attempted to land with a significant tailwind. The aircraft touched down long, about 6,400 hundred feet past the threshold and about 3,300 feet from the end of the runway. The aircraft overran the runway, struck a localizer antenna, crossed a road, went down an embankment, hit a wall, and broke up into several large sections. All six crew members survived, but three of the 177 passengers were killed.
    More on this event
    Boeing 737 plane crashes

  3. 7 August 2020; Air India Express; 737-800; VT-AXH; flight 1344; Kozhikode, India: The aircraft was on a scheduled international flight from Dubai, UAE, to Kozhikode, India. During the landing, it was raining and the aircraft had a tailwind. The aircraft exited the runway, rolled down an embankment and broke up, coming to rest about 800 feet beyond the end of the runway. All six crew members and 152 of the 160 passengers were killed.
    More on this event
    Boeing 737 plane crashes

  4. 22 May 2020; Pakistan International Airlines A320-200; AP-BLD; flight PK8303; Karachi, Pakistan: The aircraft was on a scheduled domestic flight from Lahore to Karachi, Pakistan. During the first landing attempt, the both engines scraped against the runway, damaging the lower portions of both engines. The crew rejected that landing and during the second approach the landing gear were observed in an extended postion. At some point after the first landing attempt, the Ram Air Tubine (RAT) had been deployed. The crew was unable to reach the airport on the second landing attempt, crashing in a densely populated residential area less than a mile from the runway. All eight crew members and 89 of the 91 passengers passengers were killed. Several people on the ground, as well as the two surving passengers, were seriously injured
    Other A320 crashes
    Pakistan International Airlines crashes
    More about this event

    13 October 2020; Iran Aseman Airlines; Fokker F100; EP-ATE; flight EP-3962; Tehran, Iran: The aircraft was on a scheduled domestic flight from Tehran to Ardabil, Iran. The right engine of the aircraft experienced an uncontained failure during the takeoff roll, and the crew rejected the takeoff. Parts of the engine penetrated the fuselage, passing close to one of the flight attendants. None of the seven crew members and 87 passengers were injured.
    Fokker F100 plane crashes

Other Years
1996, 1997, 1998, 1999

2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004
2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009

2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014
2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019


Most recent crashes

Related information
Recent plane crashes
Recent US plane crashes
Plane crashes by airline
Plane crashes by model
Plane crash rates by model

2020 airline safety and security review
http://www.airsafe.com/plane-crash/review-2020.htm -- Revised: 3 July 2021