Airline flying, still safer than ever - but recent events bring safety into spotlight.

Airline flying, still safer than ever - but recent events bring safety into spotlight.


07.May.2019

After a long trend toward greater safety in air travel, there has been an uptick in airline accidents and deaths in 2018 and 2019.

Many aviation experts regard that recent increase as a statistical blip, however. They note that accidents and deaths remain a fraction of the numbers from as recently as the 1990s.

Advances in aircraft and airport design, better air traffic control, and improved pilot training are often cited as factors in reducing accidents.

"I don't think we'll ever get to zero accidents, but aviation is still the safest it's ever been," said Seth Young, director of the aviation program at Ohio State University.

In the U.S., no airline passengers were killed in accidents from 2009 until April 2018, when a woman on a Southwest Airlines jet died after an engine broke apart in flight.

Worldwide, there were more than 50 fatal airline accidents a year through the early and mid-1990s, claiming well over 1,000 lives annually, according to figures compiled by the Flight Safety Foundation. Fatalities dropped from 1,844 in 1996 to just 59 in 2017, then rose to 561 last year and 209 already this year.

Safe to say, it's still one of the safest methods of travel, but there is always room for improvement.

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