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Many aviation-related events took place in 2021. The aviation industry was impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Years in aviation: 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022 2023 2024
Centuries: 20th century · 21st century · 22nd century
Decades: 1990s 2000s 2010s 2020s 2030s 2040s 2050s
Years: 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022 2023 2024



7 January
Boeing settles with the US Department of Justice to pay over $2.5 billion after being charged with fraud over the Boeing 737 MAX certification: a criminal monetary penalty of $243.6 million, $1.77 billion of damages to airline customers, and a $500 million crash-victim beneficiaries fund.[1]
9 January
Sriwijaya Air Flight 182, a Boeing 737-500, crashes off the Jakarta coast. All 62 people on board are dead.[2]
27 January
Boeing reports its 2020 results: revenue of $58.2 billion, down from $76.6 billion the previous year, and an operating loss of $12.8 billion.[3]
28 January
The new $1.1 billion dollar terminal at Bahrain Airport begins operations.[4]


3 to 5 February
Aero India 2021 is held at Yelahanka Air Force Station in Bangalore.
9 February
LATAM Argentina folds after having stopped operations on 17 June 2020.[5]
11 February
Air Namibia ceases operations and goes into bankruptcy.[6]
18 February
Airbus reports its 2020 results: revenue of €49.9 billion, down from €70.5 billion the previous year, and an operating loss of €1.1 billion ($1.3 billion).[7][8]
20 February
United Airlines Flight 328, a Boeing 777-200, suffers an uncontained engine failure of the right-hand engine over Broomfield, Colorado and the surrounding area. The flight was able to return to Denver International Airport safely with no injuries.[9][10] The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) orders emergency inspections of all 777s with the same Pratt & Whitney PW4000 engines.[11]
26 February
The 1945th and last Bombardier CRJ is delivered.[12]
27 February
First flight of the Boeing Airpower Teaming System of Boeing Australia.[citation needed]


10 March
First flight of the Dassault Falcon 6X.[13]
31 March
Alaska Airlines officially joins Oneworld, and becomes the 14th full member of the alliance.[14][15][importance?]


27 April
Avelo Airlines begins operations with three Boeing 737-800 aircraft.[16]
Interjet files for bankruptcy in Mexico. The airline indefinitely suspended flights on 11 December 2020 due to inadequate cash flow, and in January, most employees went on strike over unpaid wages.[17]


6 May
Dassault Aviation launches its $75 million Falcon 10X flagship, scheduled for 2025, to compete with the Bombardier Global 7500 and the Gulfstream G700.[18]
12 May
Key Lime Air Flight 970, a Swearingen Metroliner, collides in mid-air with a Cirrus SR22 light aircraft near Denver's Centennial Airport. Both aircraft sustain severe damage but make safe emergency landings.
21 May
Aerion, developer of the Aerion AS2 supersonic business jet, shuts down as it lacks funds.[19]
23 May
Ryanair Flight 4978, a Boeing 737-8AS on a routine scheduled flight from Athens International Airport to Vilnius Airport, is diverted to Minsk National Airport on the orders of Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko under the pretence of a bomb threat. No bombs are found, but passenger and Belarusian dissident Roman Protasevich is arrested on arrival, triggering international condemnation of the Belarusian government.
24 May
Various nations announce aviation sanctions against Belarus in reaction to the Ryanair Flight 4978 incident. Belavia, the flag carrier of Belarus, will be barred from the airspace of the EU and the UK, and EU and UK airlines are instructed to avoid Belarusian airspace.[20][21] Lithuania and Ukraine will close their airspace to aircraft that have flown or plan to fly through Belarusian airspace, thus terminating all direct flights.[22][23]
27 May
Founded by David Neeleman, US startup Breeze Airways starts commercial operations.[24]
28 May
Rolls-Royce opens the world's largest engine testbed facility in the world, Testbed 80, in Derby.[25]


3 June
United Airlines places an order for 15 Boom Overture supersonic transports, which should enter service in 2029. United is expected be the first airline to fly the Overture.[26]
11 June
Stobart Air enters liquidation and ceases operation of all flights operated under its franchise agreement with Aer Lingus Regional.[27]
Air Antwerp ceases operations.[28]
18 June
Boeing 737 MAX 10 has its first flight from Renton Municipal Airport and landing at King County International Airport (Boeing Field) with a flight duration of 2.8 hours.[29]
24 June
Icelandic start-up Play starts operations, with an inaugural flight from Keflavík to London Stansted.[30]
29 June
Chengdu's Tianfu International Airport officially opens to supplement Chengdu Airport.[31]


2 July
A Boeing 737-200 cargo aircraft operating as Transair Flight 810 ditches en route from Honolulu to Maui. Both pilots are rescued by the US Coast Guard.[32]
4 July
A Lockheed C-130 Hercules of the Philippine Air Force overruns a runway and crashes near Jolo Airport in the Philippines, killing 53 and injuring 50 others.[33][34]
6 July
An Antonov An-26 aircraft crashes near the settlement of Palana, Russia, killing all 28 people on board.[35]
16 July
An Antonov An-28 operating Siberian Light Aviation Flight 42 crash-lands in a swamp in Tomsk after both engines fail. All 18 people on board survive the accident.[36]


16 August
With the fall of Kabul to the Taliban, thousands of civilians throng the terminal and aircraft operations area of Hamid Karzai International Airport trying to flee Afghanistan, and US troops seize the facility, as several people are killed in the chaos.[37][38]
An A-29 Super Tucano of the Afghan Air Force is shot down in the Surxondaryo Region in Uzbekistan after “illegally” flying into Uzbek airspace.[39]
17 August
The first prototype Ilyushin Il-112 transport aircraft crashes near Kubinka Airfield after an engine fire. All three crew members are killed.[40]
18 August
After troops secure the civilian side of the airport, commercial flights to Kabul Airport resume on a limited basis, with a Boeing 767 of Utair.[41]
US military leaders state that 2,000 US citizens, NATO troops and Afghan civilians have been flown out from Kabul Airport by US forces since the fall of the city.[42]
19 August
Uzbek authorities confirm that 46 Afghan Air Force aircraft have flown to Uzbekistan since the fall of Kabul, and 585 aircrew are seeking asylum there.[43]
22 August
The US Department of Defense activates the Civil Reserve Air Fleet and requisitions 18 airliners from US civil airlines to shuttle Afghanistan evacuees from temporary staging bases outside of that country, freeing US military transport crews to concentrate on the Kabul airlift.[44]
30 August
The last US C-17 flight leaves Kabul Airport just before midnight, ending the US military airlift and the War in Afghanistan.[45]
Raytheon Technologies subsidiary Collins Aerospace announces the acquisition of flight tracking company FlightAware.[46]


4 September
Philippine Airlines, the oldest commercial airline in Asia, files for bankruptcy amid mounting debts due to the COVID-19 pandemic.[47]
9 September
A Qatar Airways Boeing 777-300ER operates the first commercial international flight into Kabul since the US pullout on 30 August.[48][better source needed]
15 September
An experimental electric aircraft aiming for air speed records, the Rolls-Royce ACCEL completes its first flight in fifteen minutes.[49]
23 September
South African Airways was relaunched after 18 months of grounding due to bankruptcy.[50][51] A partner ship between Takatso Consortium and The South African Government brought back the airline along with 3 Billion Rand (200 Million Dollars).[52][53]
24 September
The US Air Force awards $2.6 billion to Rolls-Royce Corporation to re-engine the B-52H bomber with 608 F130 engines (the Rolls-Royce BR725 military designation) to replace the outdated TF33, to be integrated by Boeing from 2025 to 2035 and to be operated until at least 2050, increasing fuel efficiency, range, and reducing maintenance costs.[54]


4 October
Gulfstream introduces the 4,200 nmi (7,778 km) range G400, to be delivered from 2025, and the 8,000 nmi (14,816 km) range G800, with deliveries from 2023.[55]
8 October
Air India, along with its low cost carrier Air India Express and fifty percent of AISATS, a ground handling company, were sold to Tata Sons.[56][57]
15 October
Alitalia, the flag carrier of Italy, ceases operations after 74 years due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on aviation following years of losses. Its operations and assets are handed over to new state-owned flag carrier Italia Trasporto Aereo.[58][59]
19 October
In the 2021 Houston MD-87 crash, a McDonnell Douglas MD-87 charter flight crashes on takeoff from Houston Executive Airport. All 21 people on board survive but a post-crash fire destroys the aircraft.[60]


8 November
After 20 months of restrictions, the United States opens up fully to travellers. This is celebrated when the first two flights back into the US from the United Kingdom, two Airbus A350-1000s operated by British Airways and Virgin Atlantic, conduct a parallel take-off from London Heathrow Airport for the US.[61]
14 to 18 November
Dubai Airshow 2021 is held at Al Maktoum International Airport in Dubai, from 14th to 18th November 2021.[62]
15 November
At the Dubai Airshow, US lessor Air Lease Corporation became the A350F freighter launch customer with an order for seven to be delivered around 2026, among other Airbus airliners.[63]
22 November
Hi Fly lands an Airbus A340-300 in Antarctica, at the Wolfs Fang Runway after a flight from Cape Town, setting the record for the largest aircraft ever to land in Antarctica.[64]
23 November
The single turboprop Beechcraft Denali makes its first flight, targeting certification for 2023.[65]


3 December
During a Middle East tour by French president Emmanuel Macron, the United Arab Emirates signs for 80 examples of the Dassault Rafale F4 multirole fighter to be delivered between 2027 and 2031, a deal valued at €14 billion for the aircraft (€175M each) and €2 billion for weapons.[66]
10 December
The first Airbus Helicopters H160 is delivered to All Nippon Helicopter for electronic news gathering, starting in 2022.[67]
16 December
The 251st and last Airbus A380 is delivered to its main customer Emirates.[68]


  1. "Boeing Charged with 737 Max Fraud Conspiracy and Agrees to Pay over $2.5 Billion" (Press release). The United States Department of Justice. 7 January 2021. Archived from the original on 8 January 2021. Retrieved 8 January 2021.
  2. Masrur, Jamaluddin; Fox, Kara; Dewan, Angela (10 January 2021). "Indonesian jetliner with 62 passengers crashes after taking off from Jakarta". CNN. Archived from the original on 9 January 2021. Retrieved 10 January 2021.
  3. "Boeing Reports Fourth-Quarter Results" (Press release). Boeing. 27 January 2021. Archived from the original on 27 January 2021. Retrieved 27 January 2021.
  4. Joe Bates (13 January 2021). "Bahrain's new $1.1 billion terminal to open on January 28". Airport World magazine.
  5. Mario Bertoletti (10 February 2021). "LATAM Argentina Goes Bust After 15 Years". Airways Magazine.
  6. "Air Namibia goes into voluntary liquidation". Reuters. 11 February 2021.
  7. "Airbus reports Full-Year (FY) 2020 results" (Press release). Airbus. 18 February 2021. Archived from the original on 18 February 2021. Retrieved 19 February 2021.
  8. Charlton, Angela (18 February 2021). "Airbus posts $1.3 billion loss, aims for 'cease-fire' with Boeing". KOMO. Associated Press. Archived from the original on 18 February 2021. Retrieved 19 February 2021.
  9. Knowles, Hannah. "United flight rained debris a mile wide near Denver after engine failure, officials say". Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286. Archived from the original on 21 February 2021. Retrieved 21 February 2021.
  10. Wolfsteller, Pilar (20 February 2021). "United 777 suffers engine failure over Denver". Flight Global. Archived from the original on 21 February 2021. Retrieved 21 February 2021.
  11. Hemmerdinger, Jon (22 February 2021). "FAA orders emergency PW4000 inspections as airlines ground 777s". Flight Global. Archived from the original on 22 February 2021. Retrieved 22 February 2021.
  12. Kleps, Kochan (1 March 2021). "Final Bombardier CRJ Comes off Production Line". Airways Magazine. Archived from the original on 17 March 2021. Retrieved 30 March 2021.
  13. "Falcon 6X Completes Maiden Flight" (Press release). Dassault Aviation. Archived from the original on 10 March 2021. Retrieved 30 March 2021.
  14. Singh, Jay (31 March 2021). "Official: Alaska Joins oneworld With No Interest In Widebodies". Simple Flying. Retrieved 8 February 2022.
  15. "Alaska Airlines Officially Joins oneworld" (Press release). Oneworld. 31 March 2021. Retrieved 9 February 2022.
  16. Goldstein, Michael (30 April 2021). "A New Airline Is Born As Low-Cost Avelo Airlines Takes Flight". Forbes.
  17. Martínez Garbuno, Daniel (27 April 2021). "Mexico's Interjet Approves Entering Bankruptcy Proceedings". Simple Flying. Retrieved 17 May 2021.
  18. Dominic Perry (6 May 2021). "Dassault takes fight to ultra-long-range rivals with Falcon 10X launch". Flightglobal.
  19. Sheetz, Michael (21 May 2021). "Aerion Supersonic shuts down, ending plans to build silent high speed business jets". CNBC.
  20. "UK tells airlines to avoid Belarusian airspace after flight diversion led to journalist's arrest". ITV News. 24 May 2021. Retrieved 24 May 2021.
  21. "EU leaders agree on Belarus sanctions after plane diversion". AP NEWS. 24 May 2021. Retrieved 25 May 2021.
  22. "Zelensky orders halt to air traffic with Belarus". Unian. 24 May 2021. Retrieved 24 May 2021.
  23. "Lithuania bars airport access to carriers flying over Belarus". LRT. 24 May 2021. Retrieved 24 May 2021.
  24. David Casey (21 May 2021). "Breeze Airways unveils launch network". Routes Online.
  25. Sampson, Ben (28 May 2021). "Rolls-Royce officially opens Testbed 80 engine testing facility". Aerospace Testing International.
  26. "All you need to know about Boom Overture supersonic aircraft United Airlines will fly London to NY in 3.5 hrs". www.timesnownews.com. Retrieved 9 June 2021.
  27. Dunn, Graham (12 June 2021). "Irish regional Stobart Air ceases operations". Flight Global.
  28. Caswell, Mark (14 June 2021). "Air Antwerp ceases operations".
  29. "Boeing Completes Successful 737-10 First Flight" (Press release). Boeing. 18 June 2021.
  30. Bailey, Joanna (24 June 2021). "Ready To Go: Icelandic Startup PLAY Operates Its First Flight". Simple Flying.
  31. Karla Cripps. "China's latest mega-airport is officially open". CNN. Retrieved 29 June 2021.
  32. "Boeing 737 cargo jet crashes into sea off Honolulu, Hawaii". BBC News. 2 July 2021. Retrieved 2 July 2021.
  33. "Philippines retrieves black boxes from crashed military plane". Reuters. 6 July 2021. Retrieved 6 July 2021.
  34. "Another C-130 crash survivor passes away; death toll climbs to 53". ABS-CBN News. 6 July 2021. Retrieved 6 July 2021.
  35. "No survivors from plane crash in Russia's far east, rescue officials say". Reuters. 6 July 2021. Retrieved 6 July 2021.
  36. "All passengers survive after missing Russian plane forced into emergency landing". www.abc.net.au. 16 July 2021. Retrieved 13 August 2021.
  37. Service, Tribune News. "Chaos at Kabul airport as hundreds try to leave; viral videos show people falling to their death from US aircraft". Tribuneindia News Service. Retrieved 17 August 2021.
  38. Gall, Carlotta; Khapalwak, Ruhullah (16 August 2021). "Chaos Ensues at Kabul Airport as Americans Abandon Afghanistan". The New York Times. New York City. Retrieved 17 August 2021.
  39. "Afghan A-29 Super Tucano aircraft shot down by Uzbekistan". Air Data News. 16 August 2021. Retrieved 17 August 2021.
  40. "Prototype military plane crashes outside Moscow, kills 3". AP NEWS. 17 August 2021. Retrieved 17 August 2021.
  41. Boon, Tom (18 August 2021). "Kabul International Airport Reopens On A Limited Basis". simpleflying.com. Simple Flying. Retrieved 19 August 2021.
  42. Schmitt, Eric; Cooper, Helene; Shear, Michael D. (18 August 2021). "Biden Says Troops May Stay in Kabul Longer to Assist Evacuations". The New York Times. New York City. Retrieved 19 August 2021.
  43. Mahshie, Abraham (19 August 2021). "25% of Afghan Air Force Fled, Remainder in Disarray, Sources Say". airforcemag.com. Air Force Magazine. Retrieved 20 August 2021.
  44. "Department of Defense Activates Civil Reserve Air Fleet to Assist With Afghanistan Efforts" (Press release). United States Department of Defense. 22 August 2021. Retrieved 23 August 2021.
  45. Nossiter, Adam; Schmitt, Eric (30 August 2021). "U.S. War in Afghanistan Ends as Final Evacuation Flights Depart". The New York Times. New York City. Retrieved 1 September 2021.
  46. "Collins Aerospace to acquire FlightAware" (Press release). Collins Aerospace. 30 August 2021. Retrieved 1 September 2021.
  47. Abadilla, Emmie V. (4 September 2021). "PAL files for bankruptcy in the US to pare off over $2-B debts". Manila Bulletin. Retrieved 10 October 2021.
  48. Chui, Sam (9 September 2021). "The First International Commercial Flight Back to Kabul". SamChui.com. Retrieved 15 September 2021.
  49. "Rolls-Royce's all-electric 'Spirit of Innovation' takes to the skies for the first time" (Press release). Rolls-Royce. 15 September 2021.
  50. "Final Countdown: South African Airways To Relaunch Tomorrow". Simple Flying. 22 September 2021.
  51. "South African airways returns to the skies after one year of inactivity". Africanews. 23 September 2021.
  52. "South Africa: SAA's new deal gives it wings, but no flying the skies just yet". The Africa Report.com. 21 June 2021.
  53. Ndenze, Babalo (15 June 2021). "Who's who in the new Takatso Consortium". ewn.co.za.
  54. Secretary of the Air Force Public Affairs (24 September 2021). "DAF awards Rolls-Royce B-52H engine contract" (Press release). United States Air Force.
  55. "Gulfstream Introduces Two All-New Business Jets" (Press release). Gulfstream Aerospace Corp. 4 October 2021.
  56. "Air India: Struggling national carrier sold to Tata Sons". BBC News. 8 October 2021. Retrieved 10 October 2021.
  57. "Air India acquisition: What Tatas will get - Times of India". The Times of India. Retrieved 10 October 2021.
  58. Dunn, Graham (15 October 2021). "Arrivederci Alitalia as famous brand bows out – for now". FlightGlobal. Retrieved 15 October 2021.
  59. Landini, Francesca (15 October 2021). "Alitalia dies after 75 turbulent years, hands over to ITA". Reuters. Retrieved 15 October 2021.
  60. "ASN Aircraft accident McDonnell Douglas MD-87 N987AK Houston Executive Airport, TX".
  61. Topham, Gwyn (8 November 2021). "'A moment of celebration': UK flights to US take off from Heathrow". The Guardian.
  62. "Pandemic-hit airline industry to regroup at Dubai Airshow". BBC News. 13 November 2021.
  63. David Kaminski-Morrow (15 November 2021). "Air Lease becomes A350F launch customer as part of broader large Airbus order".
  64. Marcus, Lilit (24 November 2021). "Airbus A340 plane lands on Antarctica for first time". CNN.
  65. "Beechcraft Denali enters flight test phase with landmark first flight" (Press release). Textron Aviation. 23 November 2021.
  66. Dominic Perry (3 December 2021). "UAE signs record export deal for 80 Rafale fighters". Flightglobal.
  67. "Airbus delivers world's first H160 in Japan" (Press release). Airbus. 10 December 2021.
  68. David Kaminski-Morrow (16 December 2021). "Airbus completes A380 deliveries as last jet is handed to Emirates". Flightglobal.

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