My colleague Max Kingsley Jones has been raiding our archives for historic data on airliners that get a terminal problem in the cruise phase of the flight.
Cruise is normally the peaceful part, and this is born out by the fact that, among all accidents, only 10% are caused by something that happens in that phase.
But among those that do, a third are the result of sabotage, which makes it the most common single cause during this phase.
As Max explains:
“Including MH370 [the missing Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777], Ascend Online shows that a total of 46 western-built jet airliners have crashed with the loss of all on board while in the en-route phase. Of these, 13 were caused by sabotage, two more by hijacks and one was shot down. Three more were caused by undetermined causes where flightcrew suicide is suspected.”