2016 airline safety and security review

This review includes all significant safety or security related occurrences from 2016. Numbered events involve the death of at least one airline passenger (excluding hijackers, saboteurs, or stowaways), and all events meet criteria set by AirSafe.com In short, a numbered event has to meet three criteria: the event involved an airliner flight available to the general public, the aircraft model was one commonly used by airlines in North America and western Europe, and at least one passenger was killed.

Three fatal events
This is the 21th annual review since AirSafe.com was launched in 1996. While this review, like the previous reviews, highlight a wide range of events that affect both airline safety and aviation security, The focus is on events that result in the deaths of airline passengers. The number of these fatal passengers events has ranged from 19 in 1997 to three in 2016. The three fatal events of 2016, all of which occurred outside of North America and western Europe, is the lowest number ever recorded by AirSafe.com. The previous low was five events, which occurred in 2013 and 2015. Those events included:

  • The crash of a flydubai 737 in Russia that killed all on board,
  • The crash of an EgyptAir A320 that killed all on board, and
  • The crash of an Pakistan International Airways ATR 42 that killed all on board.

Eleven significant events
In addition to the three fatal events, there were eleven events that did not meet AirSafe.com's criteria for numbered events, but attracted a significant amount of public attention. These events included:

  • A fatal ballon crash that killed all 16 on board,
  • A bombing event on an A320 flying out of Somalia that only killed the bomber,
  • Two passenger aircraft events that killed all on board,
  • An airliner crash where all on board survived, but that led to the death of a firefighter,
  • Two spectacular but nonfatal fire events, one involving an American Airlines jet and one involving a FedEx jet, that occurred on the same day,
  • A fatal crash of a cargo jet in Colombia,
  • Two events involving chartered jetliners, one of which was a nonfatal runway excursion involving then Vice Presidential candidate Governor Mike Pence, and the second a crash that killed over 60 passergers, including most of the members of a Brazilian soccer team, and
  • A Christmas Day crash that killed many members of a Russian military choir.

Bad things happening in threes
For the 31st time since 1996, there was a "bad things happen in threes" event, specifically a sequence of three or more significant or fatal events separated by ten or fewer days. This year, that happened in October and involved two jet airliner fires and a runway event with Vice Presidential candidate Gov. Mike Pence.

Events with the highest interest
Some of the events from 2016 attracted much more interest, specifically significant spikes in traffic on AirSafe.com, than others. As described in a study of nine years of AirSafe.com site traffic data, events that are associated with a significant increase in daily traffic on the site are frequently, but not always, associated with a significant increase in traffic. A significant spike in traffic occurs if the daily traffic is at least two standard deviations above the average traffic from a four-week period that begins five weeks before the day being measured, and ends one week prior to the day being measured. The five days with the largest traffic spikes (standard deviations above average traffic from the 28-day comparison period) were:

  • 12.69 - EgyptAir A320 crash in the Mediterranean Sea on 19 May 2016
  • 12.15 - LaMia RJ85 in Colombia on 29 November 2016
  • 6.44 - flydubai 737 in Russia on 19 March 2016
  • 6.12 - Emirates 777 in Dubai on 3 August 2016
  • 3.21- PIA ATR 42 in Pakistan on 7 December 2016

In the over ten years that the site traffic has been tracked in detail, the event with the highest ever traffic spike at 74.98 standard deviations, was associated with the loss of an Air France A330 over the Atlantic Ocean on 2 June 2009.

This review includes important safety or security related occurrences from 2016. 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

List of events
Descriptions of the fatal and significant events from 2016, along with links to additional information, are listed below:

    2 February 2016; Daallo Airlines A321-100; SX-BHS; flight D3159; near Mogadishu, Somalia: Daallo A321 explosion The aircraft was on a scheduled international flight from Mogadishu, Somalia to Djibouti. Shortly after takeoff, when the aircraft was at about 11,000 feet, there was an explosion caused by a bomber that caused a fuselage rupture in the forward portion of the passenger cabin. There was also evidence of fire in the area of the fuselage damage. The crew was able to return to the departure airport at Mogadishu. The only person killed was the bomber, who was ejected out of the aircraft. None of the other 73 passeners were killed, though two were injured. All seven crew members survived.
    A320 plane crashes
    More about this event

    24 February 2016; Tara Air; DHC-6 Twin Otter 400 Twin Otter; 9N-AHH; flight 193, Dana, Nepal: The aircraft was on a domestic scheduled flight from Pokhara to Jomsom Airport and crashed while en route to its destination. All three crew members and 20 passengers were killed. Tara Air is a subsidiary of Yeti Airlines. This airline is also banned from operating within the European Union. Tara Airlines had a previous fatal crash in December 2010, killing all three crew members and 19 passengers.

  1. 19 March 2016; flydubai 737-800; A6-FDN; flight FZ981; Rostov-on-Don, Russia: The aircraft was on a scheduled international flight from Dubai, UAE to Rostov-on-Don, Russia. The aircraft aborted its first landing approach, and entered a holding pattern for roughly an hour before its second attempt. During the second landing attempt, the crew indicated that they planed to execute a go-around procedure, the aircraft then entered a steep descent, and then crashed on the edge of the runway. All seven crew members and 55 passengers were killed.
    Aviation Herald article about the crash
    737 plane crashes
    More on this flydubai crash

    13 April 2016; Sunbird Aviation; BN-2T Islander; P2-SBC; Kiunga, Papua New Guinea: The aircraft was on an unscheduled domestic scheduled flight from Oksapmin to Kiunga, Papua New Guienea, and crashed near the destination airport shortly before landing, reportedly due to an engine failure. All on board, including the pilot and 12 passengers, were killed.
    More on this crash

  2. 19 May 2016; EgyptAir A320-200; SU-GCC; flight MS804; en route Paris to Cairo: The aircraft was on a scheduled international flight from Paris, France to Cairo, Egypt when radar contact was lost. The aircraft was cruising at 37,000 feet and over the eastern Mediterranean Sea north of the Egyptian coast and crashed into the sea. There were no survivors among the 56 passengers and 10 crew members on board. Three of the crew members were reportedly security personnel.
    A320 plane crashes
    EgyptAir plane crashes
    More about this event
    Todd Curtis interviewed by Al Jazeera

    Additional Todd Curtis interviews on BBC, NPR, and Fox Business.

    30 July 2016; Kubicek BB85; SU-GCC; near Lockhart, TX: The ballon was on an unscheduled flight that departed from Fentress Airpart in Fentress, TX. The ballon crashed burned after striking power lines about eight miles (12.9 km) from the launch location near Lockhart, TX. The pilot and all 15 passengers were killed. at an airport near Fentress, TX. While the victims and the ballon's gondola (an open basket) were near the point where the ballon struck power lines, the envelope was located roughly three-quarters of a mile (1.2 km) away.

    According to the NTSB accident and incident database, there were 73 previous fatal balloon-related events in the US or involving a US-registered ballon outside the US. These prior events involved at most six fatalities
    More on this event

    3 August 2016; Emirates 777-300; A6-EMW; flight EK521; Dubai, UAE: The aircraft was on a scheduled international flight from Thiruvananthapuram, India to Dubai, United Arab Emirates. The crew was attempting to execute a go-around shortly after the main landing gear touched down on the runway, but the aircraft was unable to gain altitude. The crew apparently did not advance the thrust beyond idle until after the aircraft had lifted off the runway. The crew had also commanded the landing gear to retract before commanding an increase in engine thrust. The aircraft settled down onto the runway at a rate of descent of 900 feet per minute and skidded to a stop on the runway. The aircraft was seriously damaged, with the right engine separated from the wing. There was a subsequent fire and explosion that destroyed most of the fuselage. None of the 18 crew members or 282 passengers were killed or seriously injured, though one responding firefighter was killed.
    More on this event
    Preliminary accident report
    777 plane crashes
    Emirates plane crashes

    27 October 2016; Eastern Airlines 737-700; N278EA; New York, NY: The aircraft was on an unscheduled domestic charter flight from Fort Dodge, IA to LaGuardia Airport in New York. After landing, the crew was unable to come to a stop on the runway. The aircraft was slowed by an arrestor bed of low-density concrete that was in place beyond the end of the runway. None of the 40 passengers or crew were injured. Among the passengers was Vice Presidential candiate Mike Pence, who is also the governor of the US state of Indiana.
    Other 737 Plane Crashes

    28 October 2016; American Airlines 767-300; N345AN; flight AAL383; Chicago, IL: The aircraft was on a scheduled domestic flight from Chicago, IL to Miami, FL. During the takeoff, the right engine experienced an uncontained failure, and the flight crew aborted the takeoff. The aircraft caught fire in the area of the right engine, and the aircaft occupants evacuated the aircraft. There were eight minor injuries among the 161 passengers and nine crew members.
    Other 767 plane crashes
    Other American Airlines plane crashes

    28 October 2016; FedEx Express DC-10; N370FE: Flight FX910; Fort Lauderdale, FL: The aircraft was on a domestic flight from Memphis, TN to Fort Lauderdale, FL. At some point during the landing, the left main landing gear collapsed, and the aircraft came to rest near the landing runway. A fire broke out, seriously damaging the left side of the aircraft. The two crew members were not injured.
    Other DC-10 Plane Crashes
    Other FedEx plane crashes

    28 November 2016; LaMia Avro RJ85; CP-2933, flight LMI2933; near La Unión, Colombia:
    The aircraft was on a nonscheduled international flight from Santa Cruz de la Sierra, Bolivia to Medellín, Colombia. On board was Brazilian Chapecoense Football Club, which was scheduled to play in the final of the 2016 Copa Sudamericana in Medellín

    Shortly before landing, the crew declared an emergency, reportedly due to an electrical problem, and the plane crashed into mountainous terrain near Medellín. Seven of the nine crew members and 64 of the 68 passengers were killed in the crash. Apparently, the owner of the airline, who was also a member of the flight crew, was killed in the crash.
    More about this event
    BAe 146/Avro series crashes

  3. 7 December 2016; Pakistan International Airlines ; ATR 42-500; AP-BHO; flight PK661; near Havelian, Pakistan The aircraft was on a scheduled domestic flight from Chitral to Islamabad, Pakistan. While en route, the crew reported that there was an engine problem, and that the aircraft was descending. Shortly afterwards, the crew declared an emergency. The aircraft crashed into a hillside and caught fire. All five crew members and 42 passengers were killed.
    More on this event
    ATR plane crashes
    PIA plane crashes

    20 December 2016; AeroSucre 727-200; HK-4544, flight LMI2933; near Puerto Carreño, Colombia:
    The aircraft was on a nonscheduled domestic cargo flight from Puerto Carreño to Bogotá, Colombia. Just after takeoff, the aircraft crossed a road that was about 100 meters beyond the end of the runway, apparently hitting at least one fence and dragging the rear part of the aircraft on the ground. The aircraft became airborne, but did not gain a significant amount of altitude. The aircraft was videotaped making a descending right turn just before it crashed and caught fire. The crash site was about 10 miles (16 km) from the airport. Five of the six crew members were killed.
    727 plane crashes

    25 December 2016; Russian Air Force; Tu154B-2; RA-85572; near Sochi, Russia: The aircraft was on an unscheduled international flight from Sochi, Russia to Latakia, Syria. The aircraft, which was transporting members of the Alexandrov Ensemble, the official choir of the Russian Armed forces, crashed into the Black Sea shortly after takeoff. Wreckage was found about one mile (1.6 km) from the coast. All eight crew members and 84 passengers were killed.

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

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

2016 airline safety and security review
http://www.airsafe.com/plane-crash/review-2016.htm -- Revised: 12 September 2017