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Air transportation

The Transportation Safety Board of Canada (TSB) investigates civil aviation occurrences that take place in or over Canada and any place that is under Canadian air traffic control. The TSB also investigates occurrences anywhere in the world that involve an aircraft operated by a person to whom a Canadian aviation document had been issued under Part I of the Aeronautics Act.

Since the TSB’s creation in 1990, Air Investigations Branch investigations and Board recommendations have led to numerous safety advancements in Canada and around the world, including: changes to prevent or reduce the consequences of inflight fires, improvements to reduce unstable approaches that continue to a landing, the requirement for terrain awareness and warning systems and improved post-crash survivability for seaplane occupants.

TSB air investigators come from a variety of backgrounds; they are certified as pilots, aircraft maintenance engineers, air traffic controllers and airworthiness engineers. They all have varied and extensive experience in the aviation industry. As well as conducting investigations, our investigators participate in national and international government and industry groups to monitor safety trends and communicate safety issues to change agents.

Air transportation occurrences in 2020

Overall, the number of air accidents has been decreasing over the last decade. In 2020, a total of 170 air accidents were reported to the TSB. This represents a 25% decrease from the previous year’s total of 227 accidents and 32% below the average of 251 reported in the prior 10 years from 2010–2019.

The TSB recorded 12 fatal air accidents in 2020 that resulted in 16 fatalities. This is a considerable decrease from 2019, which saw 33 fatal accidents resulting in 70 fatalities, and is lower than the corresponding averages of 30 fatal accidents with 52 fatalities over the last 10 years (2010–2019).

In 2020, there were 420 aviation incidents reported to the TSB. This represents a decrease of 54% from the 915 that were reported in 2019, and is 47% below the average of 790 incidents per year between 2010 and 2019.

Statistical summary of air transportation occurrences in 2020