Lauda Air Flight 004 - 223 dead: On 26 May 1991 flight 004 from Bangkok to Vienna broke up in the air near the Burma-Thailand border after the thrust reverser on the left wing fired. Reports indicate that it’s subsequent dive could have exceeded mach 1 (the sound barrier). There were no survivors.
China Airlines Flight 611 - 225 dead: On 25 May 2002 flight 611 from Taiwan to Hong Kong disintegrated mid flight due to faulty repairs 22 years earlier.
Korean Air Flight 801 - 228 dead: Despite protests from the flight engineer that the captain was not detecting the correct signal for landing, he pressed on and guided flight 801 from Seoul, South Korea directly into the Guam mountainside leaving only 26 survivors.
Air France Flight 447 - 228 dead: 1 June 2009 flight 447 disappeared on its way to Paris from Rio de Janeiro. Although the wreckage was found after 5 days the black box was recovered 2 years later. The cause was found to be an inappropriate pilot response to faulty air speed indicators due to bad weather conditions and ice.
Swissair Flight 111 - 229 dead:On 2 September 1998 Swissair flight 111 from New York to Geneva crashed into the ocean just off of Nova Scotia due to a rapidly spreading cockpit fire.
9/11 flights:Although not a single air disaster, the four flights involved in 9/11 were responsible for the greatest single day loss of life in commercial aviation history. Two of the flights, American Airlines Flight 11 and United Airlines Flight 175 each were responsible for thousands of casualties after being driven into the World Trade Centers and are considered the largest and second largest losses of life due to individual plane crashes in all of aviation history with 1700 and 1000 people killed respectively.
Tenerife Airport Disaster - 583 dead: In terms of passengers and crew killed this collision between two Boeing 747s on the Spanish Island of Tenerife is considered the deadliest plane crash in history.
Japan Airlines Flight 123 - 520 dead:On August 12, 1985 a flight from Tokyo to Osaka crashed into Mount Takamagahara leaving only 4 survivors.
Charkhi Dadri mid-air collision - 349 dead: The deadliest mid-air collision in history, Saudi Arabian airlines and Kazakhstan airlines crashed just west of New Delhi killing everyone on both planes. An investigation found that once again a lack of English language skills on behalf of the Kazakh pilots was the primary cause.
Ermenonville air disaster - 346 dead:After a Moroccan baggage handler was unable to read the proper latching instructions in either English or Turkish on Turkish airlines flight 981, the latch blew off mid flight as the plane crashed into Ermonville forest near Paris, France. Furthermore, the latches had a known design flaw.
Air India Flight 182 - 329 dead:On the 23 of June, 1985 a bomb exploded onboard Air India Flight 182 as it was flying between London and Montreal. The plane crashed into the Atlantic Ocean just off the coast of Ireland. A Canadian Sikh militant group was responsible.
Saudia Flight 163 - 301 dead:This flight from Rihadh to Jeddah caught fire shortly after takeoff. It turned around and made an emergency landing but everyone on board died of smoke inhalation before fire crews could get inside. The fire was started due to butane stoves used by Muslim pilgrims because of their strict dietary restrictions. Saudi Arabia has since banned the stoves but some people still smuggle them onboard to make tea.
Iran Air Flight 655 - 290 dead: During the Iraq-Iran war on July 3, 1988 the USS Vincennes shot down Iran Air Flight 665 going between Tehran and Dubai due to confused communications.
Iranian Air Force - 275 dead: On the 19th of February, 2003 an Iranian Air Force plane carrying Revolutionary Guards on an unknown mission crashed into the mountains near Kerman leaving no survivors.
American Airlines Flight 191 - 273 dead:Just moments after takeoff the left engine of Flight 191 from Chicago to Los Angeles came off. The plane rolled, turned upside down and crashed into a field. A firefighter on the scene was quoted as saying that not a single complete body was found. Amateur photos of the crash sparked a media firestorm condemning the DC-10’s poor safety record.