- Pan Am Flight 1736 and KLM Flight 4805; 27 March 1977; 583 died in the crash. On March 27, 1977, two Boeing 747 passenger jets, KLM Flight 4805 and Pan Am Flight 1736, collided on the runway on the Spanish island of Tenerife, killing 583 people, in the deadliest accident in aviation history. The investigation concluded that the fundamental cause of the accident was that captain Veldhuyzen van Zanten attempted to take off without clearance.
- Japan Airlines Flight 123; 12 August 1985; 520 died in the crash. On Monday, August 12, 1985, a Boeing 747SR operating this route suffered a sudden decompression twelve minutes into the flight and crashed 100 kilometres from Tokyo.
- Saudi Arabian Flight 763 and Kazakhstan Airlines Flight 1907; 12 November 1996; 349 died in the crash. On 12 November 1996, Saudi Arabian Airlines Flight 763, en route from Delhi, India, to Dhahran, Saudi Arabia, and Kazakhstan Airlines Flight 1907, en route from Chimkent, Kazakhstan, to Delhi, collided 100 km west of Delhi. The crash killed all 349 people on board both planes, making it the world’s deadliest mid-air collision.
- Turkish Airlines Flight 981; 3 March 1974; 346 died in the crash. On 3 March 1974 the flight crashed outside Paris, killing all 346 people on board. At the time, Flight 981 was the deadliest plane crash in aviation history. Of the 346 passengers and crew on board, only 40 bodies were visually identifiable, with rescue teams recovering some 20,000 body fragments in all. Nine passengers were never identified. 177 British nationals were on the doomed flight including John Cooper, who won silver medals in the men’s 400 metres hurdles and the 4 × 400 metres relay at the 1964 Summer Olympics in Tokyo ten years prior.
- Air India Flight 182; 23 June 1985; 329 died in the crash. On 23 June 1985 the flight was destroyed by a bomb at an altitude of 31,000 feet, and crashed into the Atlantic Ocean while in Irish airspace. A total of 329 people were killed, including 268 Canadian citizens, 27 British citizens and 24 Indian citizens. Canadian law enforcement determined that the main suspects in the bombing were members of the Sikh militant group Babbar Khalsa.
- Saudia Flight 163; 19 August 1980; 301 died in the crash. Flight caught fire after takeoff from Riyadh International Airport en route to Jeddah, Saudi Arabia on 19 August 1980. All 287 passengers and 14 crew on board died from smoke inhalation after the aircraft made a successful emergency landing at Riyadh.
- Malaysia Airlines Flight 17; 17 July 2014; 298 died in the crash. Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 was a flight from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur that was shot down on 17 July 2014 while flying over eastern Ukraine, killing all 283 passengers and 15 crew on board.
- Iran Air Flight 655; 3 July 1988; 290 died in the crash.
- American Airlines Flight 191; 25 May 1979; 273 died in the crash. On May 25, 1979 this flight crashed just moments after takeoff from Chicago.
- Pan Am Flight 103; 21 December 1988; 270 died in the crash. On 21 December 1988, N739PA, the aircraft was destroyed by a bomb, killing all 243 passengers and 16 crew. Large sections of the aircraft crashed onto residential areas of Lockerbie, Scotland, killing 11 more people on the ground. Muammar Gaddafi took responsibility for the Lockerbie bombing and paid compensation to the victims’ families in 2003. Until 2003, Libya had never formally admitted carrying out the 1988 Lockerbie bombing. On 16 August 2003, Libya formally admitted responsibility for Pan Am Flight 103 in a letter presented to the president of the United Nations Security Council. On 24 February 2004, Libyan Prime Minister Shukri Ghanem stated in a BBC Radio 4 interview that his country had paid the compensation as the “price for peace” and to secure the lifting of sanctions. Asked if Libya did not accept guilt, he said, “I agree with that.” In 1992, a US federal court found Pan Am guilty of willful misconduct due to lax security screening. On 3 November 1995, then-US President Bill Clinton dedicated a Memorial Cairn to the victims at Arlington National Cemetery.
1972 – The Deadliest Year in Modern Aviation History
January 7 – Iberia Airlines Flight 602, killed all 104 passengers and crew on board.
January 26 – JAT Flight 367, suffers a bomb explosion in mid-air; 27 of 28 on board are killed.
March 3 – Mohawk Airlines Flight 405, killed 16 of the 48 people on board and one on the ground.
March 14 – Sterling Airways Flight 296, crashes due to pilot error; all 112 on board die.
March 19 – EgyptAir Flight 763, killed all 30 passengers and crew.
May 5 – Alitalia Flight 112, killed all 115 passengers and crew on board.
May 18 – Aeroflot Flight 1491, all 122 passengers and crew on board are killed.
June 14 – Japan Airlines Flight 471, killed 82 of 87 occupants on board and three on the ground.
June 15 – Cathay Pacific Flight 700Z, all 81 on board die.
June 18 – British European Airways Flight 548, all 118 on board die.
June 24 – Prinair Flight 191, killed five of 20 people on board.
June 29 – North Central Airlines Flight 290 and Air Wisconsin Flight 671 collide killing all 13 people on board the two aircraft.
August 14 – an Interflug Ilyushin Il-62 crashes, all 156 passengers and crew are killed.
August 16 – A Burma Airways Douglas C-47 crashes killing 25 of 28 on board.
August 31 – Aeroflot Flight 558, crashes killing all 102 people aboard.
October 1 – Aeroflot Flight 1036, crashes killing all 109 passengers and crew.
October 13 – Aeroflot Flight 217, crashes, all 174 passengers and crew on board are killed.
October 13 – Uruguayan Air Force Flight 571, crashes in the Andes; passengers survive for 72 days by feeding on the dead.
November 15 – Ansett Airlines Flight 232, one of 32 on board killed.
December 3 – Spantax Flight 275, all 155 passengers and crew on board were killed.
December 8 – United Airlines Flight 553, crashes killing 43 of 60 people on board and two people on the ground.
December 8 – Pakistan International Airlines Flight 631, all 26 people aboard die.
December 20 – Delta Airlines Flight 954 and North Central Airlines Flight 575 collide, killing 10 people.
December 23 – Braathens SAFE Flight 239, crashes killing 40 of 45 people on board.
December 29 – Eastern Air Lines Flight 401, crashes killing 101 of 176 people on board.