# Is there a correlation between airport capacity and accident rates?

This question about the new Heathrow runway increasing flights per day by 700 mentions that this airport (and many others around the world) runs at over 98% capacity.

This got me thinking, is there a correlation between airport capacity and accident rates?

One would expect that the airports running at the highest capacity, would have the highest rate of fatalities per million flights, or whatever metric you want to use. But I am interested to know if this is the case or not.

*Only interested, for statistical reasons, in incidents that occurred within 5 minutes of take-off or on approach.

• Does this question mean anything? At what point can we separate an air crash from an airport? The two most high-profile crashes in recent months are suspected to have occurred due to a fault in flight control software. Are those crashes related to the airports they departed from? A 777 crashed landing at Heathrow because of ice crystals in the fuel. Is that related to the originating airport, or the destination? The premise is insufficiently well defined to be answerable. May 2, 2019 at 11:21
• "One would expect that the airports running at the highest capacity, would have the highest rate of fatalities per million flights" Why would one expect that? I can't think of any logical reason as to why that would be the case May 2, 2019 at 12:28
• @Cloud I think you need some citations to backup your claims. May 2, 2019 at 12:47
• @Cloud So why is the fatality rate high on busy roads? Because cars sometimes hit each other, and more cars mean more collisions. Planes, however, do not hit each other. When planes crash, it happens for other reasons (mechanical failure, human error etc.) - and there is no logical reason to assume that the rate of such occurrences is higher at busier airports. May 2, 2019 at 13:02
• I think the problem with this question is that it conflates incidents, accidents and fatalites. It's almost inevitable that there will be more incidents such as equipment failures because there are more aircraft around, accidents involving damage and/or injuries seem to correlate more to which country you are in (judging from a quick glance at AVHerald), and fatalities are very unusual at airports May 2, 2019 at 13:05