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Death toll in big airliner crashes went up in 2020

The number of flyers killed in large commercial airplane crashes increased to 299 worldwide in 2020 although the number of such accidents were less than half of those in 2019, according to a report released on Friday by a Dutch aviation consulting firm.

The report by consulting firm To70 states that in 2020 there were 40 accidents involving large commercial passenger planes in 2020, five of which were fatal, resulting in 299 deaths. In 2019 eight of the total 86 accidents, were fatal, causing 257 deaths.

Large commercial airplanes had 0.27 fatal accidents per million flights in 2020, To70 said, or one fatal crash every 3.7 million flights. This was higher than the 0.18 fatal accidents per million flights in 2019.

The decline in crashes came amid a sharp decline in flights due to the coronavirus pandemic. Flightradar24 reported commercial flights it tracked worldwide in 2020 fell 42% to 24.4 million.

More than half of all deaths in the To70 review were the 176 people killed in January 2020 when a Ukrainian plane was shot down in Iranian airspace.

The second deadliest incident was the May crash of a Pakistan airliner crashed in May killing 98.

Large passenger airplanes covered in the study are used all airlines but exclude small commuter airplanes in service.

Over the last two decades, aviation deaths have been falling dramatically. As recently as 2005, there were 1,015 deaths aboard commercial passenger flights worldwide, the Aviation Safety Network said.

Over the last five years, there have been an average of 14 fatal accidents for commercial passenger and cargo planes resulting in 345 deaths annually, it added.

In 2017, aviation had its safest year on record worldwide with only two fatal accidents involving regional turboprops that resulted in 13 deaths and no fatal crashes of passenger jets..