There were three serious incidents in which Finnish commercial air transport was involved. The number decreased significantly from the previous year, when there were 11 serious incidents. The situation was naturally affected by the historic decrease in traffic caused by the coronavirus pandemic, and this made comparing 2020 to previous years more difficult. The amount of commercial air traffic by Finnish commercial air transport organisations decreased by about 60% when compared to 2019, according to preliminary reports. Even when the amount of serious incidents is put into proportion with the amount of traffic, the number is half of what it was the previous year.
The amount of commercial air traffic at Finnish airports decreased in the first quarter of 2020 by about 14%, in the second by 87%, in the third by 71% and in the fourth by 75%. This also affected the number of incidents during operations. For example, using tier 2 indicators (main causes of accidents), the number of incidents decreased considerably. According to reports, COVID-19 had no effect on the safety of the organisations' operations.
Globally, in 2020 in commercial air transport (aircraft that are allowed to transport 14 passengers or more) there were eight fatal accidents in which 314 lives were lost. When measured by the number of fatal accidents, the year was the safest one in history. Also, when made proportional to the significantly decreased amount of traffic during the year (an estimate of -40% from the previous year), there were slightly fewer fatal accidents in 2020 than the average for 2013-2019. Most of the accidents took place in Africa and the Middle East. The largest loss of life (176) occurred when a civilian passenger plane was accidentally shot down in Tehran in January. (Source: Aviation Safety Network: https://news.aviation-safety.net/2021/01/06/asn-accident-statistics-highlight-need-for-more-work-on-runway-excursions-conflict-zones/ (Ulkoinen linkki)
During the year, the European aviation safety authorities together with aviation operators actively recognised possible safety threats caused by the coronavirus pandemic. Based on this work, a large amount of various material was produced to support risk management in aviation. Read the coronavirus bulletins (Ulkoinen linkki) published by Traficom and the EASA COVID-19 web pages (Ulkoinen linkki).
In 2020, one accident occurred in Finnish commercial air transport, when a member of the cabin crew fell out of an open airplane door and was injured in January. The Safety Investigation Authority performed an investigation on the incident L2020-01 (Ulkoinen linkki). It is fairly rare for crew members to fall out of aircraft, although not unheard of internationally.
Accidents involving Finnish aircraft in scheduled traffic are extremely rare in general, as the last accident occurred in 2005 (Copterline). In other commercial air transport (sightseeing flight) the previous accident occurred in October 2016.
The statistics on hours flown by Finnish aircraft will be completed later in spring. An initial estimate indicates that the number of hours flown amounted to 110,000, thus making the imputed number of accidents approx. 0.9 accidents per 100,000 hours flown. The average for 2013-2019 was 0.1 accidents per 100,000 hours flown.
Browse accident statistics starting from 2005 using an interactive and updating report (in Finnish) here (Ulkoinen linkki).
Accidents and fatalities in commercial air transport 2004-2020
Accidents in Finnish commercial air transport per 100 000 flight hours 2004-2020
Fatalities in Finnish commercial air transport per 100 000 flight hours 2004-2020
In 2020, there were three serious incidents in Finnish commercial air transport. The number is significantly lower than the previous year (11) and lower than the average for 2013-2019 (6.6). When made proportional to the estimated amount of traffic, the amount of serious incidents was half of what it was the previous year and around the same amount as the average for 2013-2019. The decrease in incidents involving drones was the biggest factor in the lower number of serious incidents. In 2019, drones caused six serious incidents, but only one in 2020. Incidents in which a drone was so close to an airplane that a collision was avoided only by chance were classified as serious incidents.
Foreign commercial air transport aircraft were involved in three serious incidents during the year. There are typically two of these incidents per year. Two of the three cases in 2020 involved helicopter flights by foreign operators: in one there was a motor malfunction during a sightseeing flight, and in the other a medical helicopter almost collided with a crane.
A list of all the serious incidents (in Finnish) can be viewed in an updating report here (Ulkoinen linkki).
The statistics on hours flown by Finnish aircraft will be completed later in spring. The statistics of the previous years can be viewed here (link) According to an initial estimate of the number of hours flown (110,000), there were approx. 2.7 serious incidents per 100,000 hours flown.
The average for 2013-2019 was 2.4 serious incidents per 100,000 hours flown.