The year 2019 was one of the safest years ever for commercial aviation despite the high-profile Ethiopian Airlines’ Boeing 737 Max crash.

Accident tracking website the Aviation Safety Network recorded a total of 20 fatal airliner accidents, resulting in 283 deaths.

This made 2019 the seventh safest year ever by the number of fatal accidents and the third safest in terms of fatalities.

The safest year in aviation history was 2017 with ten accidents and 44 lives lost.

But last year showed a “markedly higher” number of accidents when looking at a five-year average of 14 accidents and 480 fatalities.

Thirteen accidents in 2019 involved passenger flights, while six were cargo flights.

One out of 20 aircraft involved were operated by airlines on the EU “blacklist”, down by two compared to 2018.

More than half of the accidents (11) occurred in North America compared to just one in 2018 and three in 2017.

Five accidents happened in remote or rugged parts of Canada and Alaska.

“Despite progress made through various safety initiatives by Canadian and US regulators, this still is an area of concern,” Aviation Safety Network said.

Given the estimated worldwide air traffic, the accident rate is one fatal accident per almost two million flights.

Netherlands-based Aviation Safety Network chief executive Harro Ranter said the level of safety has increased significantly.

“If the accident rate had remained the same as ten years ago, there would have been 34 fatal accidents last year,” he added.

“At the accident rate of the year 2000, there would even have been 65 fatal accidents. This shows the enormous progress in terms of safety in the past two decades.”