Odds of a passenger plane being involved in a fatal accident now one in 16 million
Need a good news story to start 2018? Well, here it is. To70, a Dutch aviation consultancy, has released its 2017 Civil Aviation Review, which has revealed that not a single person was killed on a jet passenger service last year.
According to lead researcher Adrian Young, the chances of a plane being involved in a fatal accident are now one in 16 million.
There were ten accidents leading to fatalities in total in 2017, resulting in the deaths of 44 passengers and 35 people on the ground, but these all involved either cargo planes or small, private turboprop aircraft.
Young had some words to say on the matter, urging caution: “It is unlikely that this historic low will be maintained; in part, these very positive figures rest on good fortune. Nevertheless, the safety level that civil aviation has achieved is remarkable.
“The risks to civil aviation remain high as shown by the seriousness of some of the non-fatal accidents.” These included “the spectacular loss of the inlet fan and cowling of an engine on an Air France A380” over Greenland in September.
“That the aeroplane continued to operate safely to a diversion airport and was then flown home for repair on three engines says a lot about the robustness of the aeroplane,” Young said.
Of any major country, the UK maintains the best safety record. The last fatal accident involving a British carrier was on January 10th, 1989, when a Boeing 737 crashed in Leicestershire, resulting in the deaths of 47 people.
The next issue to tackle is the growing use of electronic devices with lithium-ion batteries, creating a fire risk if they are taken into the cabin. Crews are being trained to fight fires in the cabin caused by these batteries; the problem is passengers who think rules don’t apply to them, and take them on regardless.
Still, it’s a remarkable statistic, and one that proves that 2017 wasn’t as awful as you thought. In one aspect, anyway.