The Top 5 Commercial Airline Companies with the Most Crash Fatalities

  Airline Headquarters Fatal Accidents
(last fatal accident)
1 Aeroflot Moscow, Russia 1,349
(May 5th, 2019)
2 Air France Tremblay-en-France, France 131
(Jun 1, 2009)
3 Pan Am
New York City, USA 68
(Dec 21, 1988)
4 American Airlines Fort Worth, USA 60
(Oct 28, 2016)
5 United Airlines Chicago , USA 61
(Sep 11, 2001)
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Why Does Areoflot Have The Most Plane Crash Fatalities?

That's a good question. Historically the Russian Airline Areoflot, which means "air fleet" in English, has had the worst safety record of any other airline in existence. However that is not necessarily the fact today. It is during the era of the Soviet Union that Areoflot had one of the worst records in aviation safety and when the vast majority of crashes occurred. Most of the airline crash deaths for Areoflot on our list happened before the 1990s. Russia is big. It's the biggest country in the world in fact, and that makes it an extremely complicated country to fly around. Areoflot also happens to be one of the oldest commercial airlines in existence and typically had one of the largest fleets of (aging) aircraft in the world as well, especially during the USSR days. Statistically it is no surprise that the airline would have a high air crash fatality number considering all these factors. Think of all the far-flung, small, isolated, cold, difficult to maintain airports and airfields the Russians have had to manage since 1923 when the airline was first formed.

But Things Have Changed A Lot Since The USSR

Today however, Areoflot has a modern fleet of Airbus and Boeing aircraft, along with some Sukhoi Super-jets operating with the airline, now making it one of the world's safest airlines to fly with. The bad reputation it had justifiably earned in the past, was earned years before most people who are reading this article were born. Most of their fatal air crashes occurred between 1946 to 1989 when the Russians were using their aging and poorly maintained fleet of Soviet aircraft and the stigma of that deadly commercial aviation era remains to this day.

PAN AM Airlines: Stylish But Deadly

No airline company embodied the fashion and the style of flying like PAN AM airlines. The brand was, and still is, instantly recognizable. Founded in 1927 it fast became America's airline, ferrying wealthy Americans around the globe in style. It also has the second amount of airline crashes in aviation history and not only that it was involved in the most shocking and deadly air disaster of all time; the infamous Tenerife Airport Disaster .

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Tags: Transportation, Top 5 Most

Sources:  Bureau of Aircraft Accidents Archives: “Death rate per Operator."

List Notes: Data is top 5 commercial airline companies with the most fatal accidents involving crew and/ or passengers while engaged in a commercial flight. Data is airline accidents on record since 1918. This list does not include military aircraft crashes.

Please note: air travel is still one of the safest modes of transportation with the odds of being killed in an aircraft accident being between one in 5.4 million and one in 7.0 million. List data 1918 - 2021.
Commercial Airline Companies with the Most Crash Fatalities

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