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FAA Aviation Regulators Address Alaska's High Aviation Accident Rate

November 02, 2021

According to an online news story published on, U.S. aviation regulators with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) are organizing a substantial overhaul of Alaska's aviation safety practices. The goal is to address and fix the state's consistently high accident rate.

The plan to improve Alaska's aviation safety includes setting up several new technologies such as automated weather tracking equipment. The plan also calls for improving aviation maps. According to the FAA, the work to improve aviation safety in Alaska will begin next year.  Alaska weather and geography produce some unique challenges to aviation safety. Approximately 80% of Alaska's communities are accessible only by air travel.  

Steve Dickson, the FAA Administrator, stated that Alaska depends on air travel more than any other U.S. state, and the FAA is committed to doing everything feasible to make air travel safer in Alaska.

According to aviation accident data collected by the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board, last year, Alaska's aviation accident rate was about 2.4 times higher than the rest of the U.S. from 2008 through 2017. Moreover, the NTSB found that aviation accidents involving smaller commercial airlines were 1.34 times higher. 

The NTSB only investigates accidents, and the agency has no regulatory power to make arrests or create laws. 

According to NTSB records, the last U.S. airline passenger fatality happened in Alaska on October 17, 2019. A commuter airplane slid off of a runway at the Aleutian Island Airport. In the incident, one of the airplane's propellers slammed into the plane's fuselage. 

The NTSB and the Federal Aviation Administration's Alaska Aviation Safety Initiative believe the most prevalent causes of Alaskan airplane accidents involve dangerous weather conditions and inadvertently flying into the ground. The news report states that aviation accidents often involve a combination of the two. 

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Category: Personal Injury

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