For a number of year, experts have argued that air travel is by far the safest way to get between two distant points. Travel by train, bus or car is much more dangerous. The case was proved in 2017 as the industry posted only one fatal passenger flight accident per 7,360,000 flights. This is notwithstanding two fatal accidents that involved small planes at the end of the year.
The Aviation Safety Network (ASN) reported “2017 airliner accident statistics showing an extremely low total of 10 fatal airliner accidents, resulting in 44 fatalities.” That made last year the safest in aviation history.
Passenger jets posted the best numbers:
On December 31, aviation had a record period of 398 days with no passenger jet airliner accidents. Additionally, a record period of 792 days passed since the previous civil aircraft accident claiming over 100 lives.
And the trend is part of an improvement that has spread over many years. ASN President Harro Ranter said:
Since 1997 the average number of airliner accidents has shown a steady and persistent decline, for a great deal thanks to the continuing safety-driven efforts by international aviation organisations such as ICAO, IATA, Flight Safety Foundation and the aviation industry.
In the past few days the crash of a small plane in Costa Rica killed two American families, which totaled 10 people, and the plane’s two pilots. The CEO of a major company and his family were killed in Australia at the end of the year as well. Compass Group chief Richard Cousins died along with several family members in an accident that killed six people.
As planes add more safety features, both at the commercial and general aviation levels, air flight is likely to get even safer. As a matter of fact, many recent accidents show that pilot error, the one thing technology cannot entirely eliminate, may be the single biggest safety challenge.