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No commercial travel crashes in 2017: Full UAE air safety records here

UAE airlines unquestionably have some of the top ratings in air travel, despite a couple of unfortunate incidents, a record which in comparison to other regional airlines, and even global ones, is impeccable.

A recent Statista report indicated that 2017 saw no commercial planes crashes and no fatalities associated with them.  The most recent commercial airline crash happened in Colombia in November 2016, involving an Avro RJ85 with 71 of the aircraft’s 77 occupants losing their lives.

2005 was the last year where there were more than 1,000 deaths on commercial flights and the accident rate stands at one fatal passenger per 7,360,000 flights.

Niall McCarthy, Data Journalist for Statista says 2017 was the safest year in the history of commercial air travel, quoting the Aviation Safety Network.

Excluding acts of suicide, sabotage and hijacking, 59 people were killed in 14 air accidents worldwide in 2017, a significant improvement on 2016’s 17 accidents and 258 fatalities, said McCarthy.

But what is the record of regional airlines over the past few years?

Courtesy of Statista (

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According to Forbes,  EgyptAir has one of the worst fatality records among Middle East airlines. Some 502 people have lost their lives on board its planes in 11 separate fatal incidents, according to the Aviation Safety Network (ASN).

Some 549 people have died on Iran Air planes and 645 have died on Saudi Arabian Airlines (Saudia) flights,” said Forbes quoting general ASN figures that did not take into account the number of flights or the number of passengers carried.

Country wise, and since 1919, Saudi has had 14 fatal accidents involving 1013 fatalities, while the UAE has had 10 fatal accidents involving 284 fatalities, according to ASN

Overall, there have been 93 fatal accidents involving major Middle East carriers, with a total death toll of 4,692, according to the ASN.

The worst of these was in November 1996, when a Saudia Boeing 747 that had just taken off from New Delhi airport collided in mid-air with a Kazakhstan Airlines cargo jet. All 312 passengers and crew on board the Saudia flight were killed, as were the 37 people on the Kazakh plane.

“Other airlines which have suffered high tolls include Royal Jordanian (464 deaths), Libyan Airlines (324), Air Algeria (309) and Bahrain’s Gulf Air (255).”

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UAE airlines accidents

Airline Ratings, an industry travel reference, rates Emirates with 7 stars, the most possible, while flydubai earned a very respectable 6 stars, same as Saudi flynas.

Some airlines have never suffered a fatality, including Emirates, Etihad, Air Arabia and Qatar Airways, according to Forbes.

In April 2004, an Emirates Airbus A340-300 taking off from Johannesburg, South Africa failed to become airborne before takeoff, striking 25 approach lights but no injuries were reported.

In March 2009, an Emirates Airbus A340-500 failed to take off properly from Melbourne and struck several structures, but managed to take off and return to the airport to land. No injuries were reported.

And on August 3, 2016, Emirates Airline flight EK521 made an emergency landing in Dubai, as the Boeing 777-31h suffered an apparent engine explosion, but thankfully all 300 people aboard escaped with their lives. One non-flight fatality involved a fireman on the ground who lost his life putting out flames.

In 2015, flydubai Flight FZ215 was hit by small-arms fire on approach to Baghdad, but no injuries were reported, however Flydubai Flight FZ981 crashed during a third attempt to land in adverse night-time conditions at Rostov-on-Don Airport in Russia on March 19, 2016, killing fifty-five passengers and seven crew members.

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Dubai Airport incidents timeline

March 14, 1972, Sterling Airways Flight 296 crashed into a mountain ridge on approach to Dubai near Kalba, United Arab Emirates. All 112 passengers and crew on board died due to pilot error.

November 1974: British Airways flight 870 is hijacked in Dubai before being flown to Tripoli and Tunis.

September 23, 1983, An Abu Dhabi-bound Gulf Air Boeing 737 coming from Karachi crashed in the desert between Al Ain and Dubai killing all 112 passengers and crew.

December 15, 1997, eighty five people were killed after a Tajik Air charter flight Tupolev Tu-154 crashed near the Sharjah International Airport. Only one person survived the crash. The flight was coming in to Sharjah from Khoujand in Tajikistan.

September 21, 2001, an Aeroflot flight from Moscow to Dubai with 307 passengers and 15 crew on board ‘belly-landed’ at Dubai International Airport. Nobody was seriously injured.

 October 17, 2001, a Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) flight with 205 people on board crash-landed at Dubai International Airport when part of its landing gear collapsed.   Nobody was seriously injured.

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February 9, 2004, a Kish Airlines flight crashed near Sharjah International Airport, killing 43 of 46 people aboard the aircraft. The twin-engined Fokker 50 aircraft, crashed at the Sharjah-Ajman border in Al Ramaqiah residential areas.

March 12, 2007, a Biman Bangladesh Airlines Airbus A310-300 was sent skidding along the runway of Dubai International Airport after its undercarriage collapses as it was accelerating to take off.  14 people were injured.

October 21, 2009, a Sudanese registered plane, a Boeing 707 aircraft, carrying general cargo, bound for Khartoum, crashed two minutes after take-off from Sharjah Airport. Six people were killed.

September 3, 2010, a UPS flight 6 Boeing 747 crashed soon after takeoff while en-route to Cologne, Germany. The flight had taken off but was on the way back after reporting smoke in the cockpit. Both crew members were killed when the aircraft crashed between Emirates Road and the Al Ain Highway.

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Air Traffic congestion measures

The Dubai Air Navigation Service (dans) has implemented new air traffic management procedures designed to meet the needs of increasingly congested airspace over the next several years.

dans has implemented more than 90 new air traffic management procedures, introduced 150 new navigation waypoints, and trained an additional 168 air traffic controllers.