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05 January 2011's airline safety review for 2010

This 15th annual review discusses 10 fatal airline crashes and 14 other significant events from 2010. While the overall rate of fatal and serious airliner crashes remains relatively low, 2010 saw an increase in fatal passenger airline crashes and other serious crashes compared to 2009, which had eight fatal airline crashes and 10 other noteworthy aircraft safety events. While the US and Canada account for about 60% of the world's airline flights last year, none of the fatal passenger airliner crashes involved an air carrier based in North America, though one of the other noteworthy events involved a US cargo airline.

While fatal crashes such as the crash of a military jet that killed the President of Poland, and a passenger airliner crash that had a single survivor were intensely covered by the world's major media organizations, perhaps the more notable airline safety or security event during 2010 had nothing to do with the risks passengers face when flying, but the risks passengers face when they submit to screening by the TSA, specifically the put-down procedures that the TSA implemented in late October to supplement their use of full body scanners. Several aspects of this policy and the public's negative reaction were covered in detail by, from questions about whether the TSA was hiring convicted rapists, to suggestions on what passengers can do to change TSA policy, and a review of the public's responses to TSA policies.

Although's primary focus is on those events that involved deaths of passengers on large airliners, the site's annual list of fatal or signifiant crashes includes both airline and non-airline events. There were ten events in 2010 that led to airline passengers fatalities, with the most catastrophic being a May crash of an Air India Express 737-800 that killed 158 of the 166 aircraft occupants. The full list is below:
  1. 25 January 2010; Ethiopian Airlines 737-800; Flight 409; near Beirut, Lebanon: The aircraft was on a scheduled international flight from Beirut, Lebanon to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, and crashed into the Mediterranean Sea shortly after takeoff. All 82 passengers and eight crew members were killed.
    More information on the Ethiopian Airlines Crash
    Initial report on this event
    Other 737 plane crashes

  2. 12 May 2010; Afriqiyah Airways; A330-200; Flight 771; near Tripoli, Libya: The aircraft was on a scheduled international flight from Johannesburg, South Africa (JNB) to Tripoli, Libya (TIP) with 93 passengers and 11 crew on board. The aircraft crashed short of the runway during its landing attempt. All 11 crew members and 92 of the 93 passengers were killed. The sole survivor was a 10-year-old Dutch boy.
    More Crash Details
    Fatal Events for Airlines from Africa and the Middle East
    Plane Crashes with a Sole Survivor
    Other A330 Plane Crashes
    Afriqiyah Airways Wikipedia page

  3. 22 May 2010; Air India Express; 737-800; flight 812; Mangalore, India: The aircraft (VT-AXV) was on a scheduled international flight from Dubai, UAE, to Mangalore, India, arriving just after 6 a.m. local time. The aircraft landed on one of the runways at Mangalore airport, but was unable to stop on the runway. There were reportedly six crew members and 167 passengers and on board, including four infants. Early reports indicate that there were at least six survivors.
    More details on this accident

  4. 28 July 2010; Airblue; A321-231; flight 202; near Islamabad, Pakistan: The aircraft (AP-BJB) was on a scheduled domestic flight from Karachi to Islamabad, Pakistan when it crashed during approach in a hilly area near the airport. The aircraft was completely destroyed in the crash, and all 146 passengers and six crew members were killed. The crash occurred at 9:45 am local time, and there was rain in the area at the time of the crash.
    More details on this Airblue crash
    Wikipedia page about the crash
    Wikipedia page about AirBlue

  5. 16 August 2010; Aires Colombia; 737-700; HK-4682; San Andres Island, Colombia: The airliner was on a scheduled domestic flight from Bogota to San Andreas Island, Colombia. San Andreas Island lies off the east coast of Nicaragua. The aircraft took off from Bogota just after midnight and was attempting to land just before 2 a.m. local time during a storm. The aircraft was reportedly struck by lightning just before touchdown. The airplane struck the runway and broke up into three large pieces. One of the 125 passengers was killed, and all six crew members survived.
    More on this event

  6. 24 August 2010; Henan Airlines; ERJ-190; B-3130; flight VD8387; Yichun, China: The aircraft was on a scheduled domestic flight from Harbin to Yichun, China. The aircraft broke up and caught fire after it overran the runway after landing. At the time of the crash, there was fog in the area and limited visibility. The aircraft carried five crew members and 91 passengers, and 43 of the occupants were killed. At least one flight crew member survived.
    Other Embraer plane crashes
    Other plane crashes involving airlines from China

  7. 24 August 2010; Agni Air; 9N-AHE; Dornier 228-200; near Shikharpur, Nepal: The aircraft was on a domestic flight from Kathmandu to Lukla, Nepal. Due to weather conditions at Lukla, the aircraft was returning to Kathmandu, but crashed near Shikharpur, Nepal, about 50 miles (80 km) from Kathmandu. All three crew members and 11 passengers were killed.

  8. 13 September 2010; Conviasa ATR 42-320; YV1010; Flight 371; Puerto Ordaz, Venezuela: The aircraft was on a scheduled domestic flight from Porlamar to Puerto Ordaz, Venezuela. It crashed into an industrial area just short of the destination airport. There were 17 fatalities among the 47 passengers and four crew members.

  9. 4 November 2010; AeroCaribbean; ATR 72-212; CU-T1549; Flight 883; near Guasimal, Sancti Spiritus Province, Cuba: The aircraft was on a domestic flight from Santiago to Havana, Cuba. The crew reported an emergency situation shortly before the aircraft crashed in mountainous terrain. All seven crew members and 61 passengers were killed.
    Additional crash details

  10. 4 December 2010; Dagestan Airlines (also known as South East Airlines); Tu154M; RA-85744; flight 372; Moscow, Russia: The aircraft was on a scheduled domestic flight from Moscow to Makhachkala, Russia. The aircraft departed from Moscow's Vnukovo Airport, and about eight minutes later, while the aircraft was climbing through an altitude of about 6,500 m (21,000 ft), there were reportedly problems involving the fuel system. When the aircraft was about 80 km away from the departure airport and at about 9,000 m (29,000 ft) altitude, two of the three engines flamed out and the crew elected to divert to Moscow's Domodedovo Airport. The aircraft experienced a hard landing near the runway, and broke up after striking a large earthen mound beyond the end of the runway. Two of the 160 passengers were killed, and all nine crew members survived.
    Additional details on the crash
    Other Russian airliner crashes

Other Noteworthy Events highlighted 14 other noteworthy events in 2010, including a crash that killed the President of Poland and a number of other high level Polish leaders. While some of these events resulted in fatalities, and others involved airliner aircraft normally tracked by, none of these crashes are a fatal event as defined by, and are included because of the seriousness of the events or because of other issues that may be highlighted by the crash.
  1. 10 April 2010; Polish Air Force Tu154, near Smolensk, Russia:
    The president of Poland, Lech Kaczynski, was killed, along with his wife and numerous Polish officials, when their aircraft, a Polish Air Force Tupolev 154M, crashed near Smolensk, Russia. The flight, took off from Warsaw with 88 passengers and eight crew members and crashed during its approach to Smolensk air base. All on board were killed.
    More details about this event

  2. 13 April 2010; AeroUnion A300B4-200; XA-TUE; Flight 302; Monterrey, Mexico: The aircraft was on a domestic cargo flight from Mexico City to Monterrey, Mexico and was destroyed when it crashed on a roadway about two kilometers from the destination airport. All five crew members were killed, as were two people on the ground.

  3. 19 April 2010; Southwest Airlines 737-700; flight 649; Burbank, CA: The airliner, with 119 passgengers and a crew of five on board, nearly collided with a Cessna 172 at Burbank Airport in California. Flight 649 was inbound from Oakland to the Burbank airport (also known as Bob Hope Airport) and was landing to the east on runway 8 while the Cessna 172 had just taken off to the south from runway 15, passing over the 737 at the intersection of the two runways. The two aircraft came within 200 feet vertically and 10 feet laterally of each other at the runway intersection. At the time of the event, skies were clear with 10 miles of visibility. No one on either aircraft was injured and neither aircraft was damaged.
    Fatal midair collisions report of this event

  4. 15 May 2010; Blue Wing Airlines; Antonov An28; eastern Suriname: The aircraft was on a scheduled domestic flight between Godo Holo to Paramaribo, Suriname. The aircraft crashed in a wooded area in eastern Suriname. Both crew members and all six passengers were killed. This is the third time that a Blue Win An28 has been destroyed in a crash. One of the crashes in April 2008 also killed everyone on board.
    Wikipedia page on this airline

  5. 17 May 2010; Pamir Airways; Antonov An24B; flight 112; near Salang Pass, Afghanistan: The aircraft (YA-PIS) was on a scheduled domestic flight between Kunduz to Kabul, Afghanistan. All contact with the aircraft was lost about 10 minutes after departure, and it is presumed to have crashed in the Salang Pass area, which lies around 100 km (60 miles) north of Kabul and at an altitude of about 13,350 feet. Heavy fog was reported in the area at the the time. All five crew members and 38 passengers are missing and presumed dead. This was the first major crash for this airline.
    Wikipedia page on this crash

  6. 16 June 2010; United Express; Embraer E145; flight 8050; Ottawa, Canada: United Express 8050, a nonstop flight from Washington's Dulles airport to Ottawa's Macdonald-Cartier airport, landed on runway 7, was unable to stop on the runway, coming to rest about 150 meters off the end of the runway. It was raining at the time of the accident.

    One witness claimed that the aircraft was hydroplaning on the runway, and a second witness who was monitoring air traffic control communications reported that the pilot told the control tower he had no traction on the wet runway.

    The nose landing gear appears to have collapsed, although the rest of the aircraft appears intact. There was no post crash fire. Both pilots and one passenger was injured. The other 32 passengers and the flight attendant were not injured.
    More deatails on this accident

  7. 20 July 2010; United Airlines; 777-200; flight 967; over Kansas: The aircraft was on a scheduled domestic flight from Washington, DC (IAD) to Los Angeles (LAX) when it diverted to Denver, CO (DIA) after apparently experiencing significant turbulence while flying at 34,000 feet over Kansas.

    According to United, the aircraft had 255 passengers and 10 crew members. FAA spokesman Ian Gregor in Los Angeles said 26 passengers and four crew members were injured, and that one person was critically hurt, though no additional details were provided about the most seriously injured person. Local media reported that 21 people were transported to Denver area hospitals.
    More deatails on this incident

  8. 27 July 2010; Lufthansa; MD-11F; flight 8460; Riyadh, Saudi Arabia: The aircraft was on a cargo flight from Frankfurt, Germany to Riyadh, Saudi Arabia had a landing accident that fractured the fuselage. The two crew members survived. This plane crash was a cargo flight without passengers, and is not a fatal event as defined by, but is included because of the seriousness of the event.
    Lufthansa plane crashes

  9. 28 July 2010; US Air Force; C-17; near Anchorage, AK: The aircraft had taken off from Elemendorf AFB near Anchorage, Alaska and crashed during a local training mission. The aircraft came down in a wooded area about two miles from the runway. All four on board were killed. The aircraft and crew were based at Elmendorf. This was the first fatal crash involving the USAF C-17, also known as the Globemaster III. In two previous incidents, a C-17 sustained engine damage after being struck by a surface to air missile in Iraq in 2003, and last year a C-17 had a gear up landing in Afghanistan.

  10. 9 August 2010; de Havilland DHC-3T Otter; near Dillingham, AK: Former Alaska Senator Ted Stevens was one of five people killed when an turbine engine, float equipped Otter crashed into steep terrain during a flight from nearby Lake Nerka to a fishing lodge in the Dillingham, Alaska area. The pilot and four passengers, including Stevens, were killed, and four other passengers were injured. One of the survivors was former NASA administrator Sean O'Keefe. Coincidentally, the pilot who was killed in this crash was the father-in-law of one of the C-17 pilots killed the previous month near Anchorage, AK.

    This was not the first fatal plane crash in Alaska involving Senator Stevens. In December 1978, the Senator was one of two survivors of a fatal crash of a Learjet in Anchorage, Alaska. Both pilots and three other passengers, including the Senator's first wife, were killed in the crash.
    Other crashes involving US political figures

  11. 25 August 2010; Filair; Let 410; 9Q-CCN; Bandundu, Democratic Republic of Congo: The aircraft was on a scheduled domestic flight from Kinshasa to Bandundu, and during its approach to Bandundu it crashed into a house about a mile from the airport. All three crew members and 18 of the 19 passengers were killed.
    Sole survivor plane crashes
    Wikipedia entry about this event

  12. 3 September 2010; United Parcel Service (UPS); 747-400F; flight 6; Dubai, United Arab Emirates: The aircraft was on an international cargo flight from Dubai, UAE to Colonge, Germany, and crashed shortly after takeoff about 10 km (6.2 mi) north of the airport. The two crew members were killed. The only previous fatal crash of a 747-400 was a 2000 crash of a Singapore Airlines in Taipei, Taiwan.
    Other UPS plane crashes
    Other 747 plane crashes

  13. 7 September 2010; Alrosa Mirny Air Enterprise; Tu154M; RA-85684; flight 514, Izhma, Russia: The aircraft was on a scheduled domestic flight from Udachny to Moscow, Russia. While en route at about FL347 near over Usinsk, Russia, the aircraft experienced a complete electrical failure that resulted in a loss of navigational equipment, fuel pumps, and flaps. The crew was able to make a successful emergency landing on an abandoned runway at the Izhma, Russia airport. None of the nine crew members or 72 passengers were injured.
    More details on this accident
    Russian airliner crashes

  14. 15 December 2010; Tara Air; DHC-6 Twin Otter; 9N-AFX; Palunge Hill, Nepal: The aircraft was on a domestic flight from Lamidanda to Kathmandu, and crashed into Palunge Hill while en route to its destination. The crew reported an emergency situation shortly before the aircraft crashed in mountainous terrain. All three crew members and 19 passengers were killed. Tara Air is a subsidiary of Yeti Airlines
Fatal and serious events by year
1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002,2003
2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010


  1. It is good that airline travel has become safer over the past few decades. There has been a decrease of accidents overall.

    Virtual Airlines

  2. Airline safety has come a long way and the newer planes flying these days are the safest ever, but no way you can totally remove human error.

  3. The decrease in the number of accidents is indeed good news. And as a lawyer involved in similar cases I somehow believe that the lawsuits of the past decade have been instrumental in the growing vigilance of air travel companies. Anyhow as the 2010 numbers point out, there can always be an increase in the number of accidents. That should make us think a little more about air travel safety.

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