July 9, 2020

Canadian Aircraft Accident Rates Trending Downward


According to a recently released report from the Transportation Safety Board, a statistical analysis reveals a variety of indicators that show an overall downward trend in accident rates, but an uptick in fatalities, arising from aviation activities in Canada.

The TSB reports that in 2019 there were 226 air transportation accidents, up somewhat from the previous year (201), but down 12 percent from the 10-year average of 258. These numbers include all accidents that occurred in Canada, including those involving foreign-registered aircraft and those involving Canadian-registered aircraft abroad.

The 2019 total breaks down into the following categories:

  • 176, or 78%, involving fixed-wing powered aeroplanes (but not including ultralights);
  • 28, or 12%, involving helicopters;
  • 18, or 8%, involving ultralights; and
  • 5, or 2%, involving other aircraft types.

(Numbers may not add up as one accident can include more than one aircraft type.)

A further breakdown of the data identifies 83 accidents involved commercially registered aircraft, up from 66 in 2018, but still below the 10-year average of 88.

Privately operated aircraft accounted for 142 accidents, up from 134 in 2018, but still 13 percent below the 10-year average. One hundred and one involved Canadian-registered aeroplanes, and 131 accidents involved what Transport Canada and the TSB classify as recreational operators. Although up from 124 in 2018, the total is still below the below, by 17 percent, the 10-year average.

Of particular note is the number of fatalities that occurred in 2019, when 70 lost their lives in 33 fatal accidents compared with 38 fatalities in the 23 fatal accidents the year before. This count is 21 fatalities higher than the 10-year average of 52 fatalities in 30 fatal accidents.

The full TSB report is appended below.

Image credits: TSB