Report: 2017 was safest year for commercial airline travel

An Airbus A350-1000 aircraft takes off during the 52nd International Paris Air Show at Le Bourget near Paris on June 19. According to aviation consultancy firm, To70, last year was the safest for commercial airlines. File Photo by David Silpa/UPI

Jan. 2 (UPI) — Commercial airlines had their safest year ever in 2017, according to To70’s annual civil aviation review.

The Netherlands-based aviation consultant firm counted a total of 111 accidents with only two resulting in fatalities. Those two accidents accounted for 13 fatalities.

The report did not include planes that weighed under 5,700 kilograms such as the New Year’s Eve crash in Costa Rica that killed 12 people.

The number of deaths in 2017 was far lower than 2016. Although 2016 had fewer civil aviation accidents with 71, seven of those incidents were fatal and a total of 271 people lost their lives while flying commercial airlines.

There were fewer deaths in 2017 despite an increase in the number of flights.

“An estimated three percent growth in air traffic for 2017 over 2016 means that the fatal accident rate for large aeroplane in commercial air transport is again reduced; this time to 0.06 fatal accidents per million flights. That is a rate of one fatal accident for every 16 million flights,” To70 said in its report.

But the firm warned that, despite increases in safety measures, there might have been a bit of good luck involved in the lower fatalities.

“Whilst the safety levels of modern civil passenger airplanes remain high, the extraordinarily low accident rate this year must be seen as a case of good fortune,” To70 said. “Statistically speaking, in a dataset that starts with over thirty million flights, there is little difference between two accidents and ten accidents. That this year’s accidents only resulted in 13 fatalities is even greater fortune.”

Adrian Young, a senior consultant for To70, told the Independent it is “unlikely that this historic low will be maintained.”

“Nevertheless, the safety level that civil aviation has achieved is remarkable,” he said.


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