I believe it is mandatory for airlines to provide passengers with information about evacuation in case of emergencies. However, pretty much every accident I've ever heard off either happens at the airport (where normal exit routes are available) or in the middle of nowhere (where no passenger makes it out alive).

Is there any statistics on how often do "normal" evacuations happen among Western airlines? The only example I can think off is the Hudson landing of US Airways Flight 1549.

  • 7
    $\begingroup$ You're right that the vast majority of evacuations happen at airports, but that doesn't mean they're using the 'normal exit routes'. I don't have any hard data for you, but head over to AvHerald and search for "evacuation via slides". $\endgroup$
    – falstro
    May 2, 2014 at 10:15
  • $\begingroup$ That's a great link! Thanks $\endgroup$ May 2, 2014 at 10:26
  • $\begingroup$ I would imagine that the evacuation happens more often in the filming of evacuation scenes than it does in real life... but I have absolutely nothing to back that up with. $\endgroup$
    – mah
    May 2, 2014 at 11:11
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    $\begingroup$ @mah: I don't think so. Precautionary evacuation is quite common. $\endgroup$
    – Jan Hudec
    May 2, 2014 at 13:30

1 Answer 1


I didn't do statistics, but The Aviation Herald lists units to low tens a year worldwide.

Most of them happen at airport due to fire indication (sometimes even false) or smoke on board.

On the ground, fire spreads a lot faster than while flying, because when flying, the wind is too strong and blowing the flames off. The most notable example would be China Airlines B738 at Okinawa on Aug. 20th 2007, airplane in flames arriving at stand. The aircraft was already at the gate when the flames were first noticed, evacuation was immediately initiated and by the time everybody left, it was already engulfed in flames, about 3 minutes after the fire started. While China Air might not be "western" in strict sense of the world, it is largest airline on Taiwan and follows the same standards.

Another notable accident is Egyptair B772 at Cairo on Jul 29th 2011, cockpit fire.

Here are some recent evacuations mentioned on AvHerald:

Notice, that they are all smoke or fire events. For some other reasons, see e.g.:

two similar accidents where both aircraft were evacuated via slides. The reason in these, and many other gear collapse incidents, is that they don't want to wait in a damaged plane where there is a risk of fire, plus the difficulty of getting stairs to the aircraft resting in strange attitude.


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