The year 2017 was the safest year for global air transport since the establishment of statistics on aircraft accidents in 1946, according to figures released Monday by the Aviation Safety Network.
With a total of ten accidents involving passenger planes, which killed 44 people, 2017 “is the safest year ever by both the number of accidents and the number of casualties,” the Aviation Safety Network reported on its website, recalling that in 2016 there had been a total of 16 accidents for 303 victims.
“The past year has been another exceptional year for safety in civil aviation,” said Adrian Young, researcher at the Dutch agency To70, which published a separate study focusing on aircraft weighing more than 5.7 tons carrying passengers.
ASN is part of the Flight Safety Foundation, a non-profit organization that has been working since 1947 to improve the safety of air transport.
The ASN statistics published on Monday, however, relate only to civil commercial passenger and cargo aircraft approved for carrying at least 14 or more passengers. The accident of June 7th involving a military transport plane of the Burmese army that killed 122 people is not included in these statistics.
Planes remain the safest means of transport: the probability of dying in a commercial plane crash is now “1 in 16 million”, according to Mr. Young, while air traffic has risen by 3% in 2017 compared to 2016.
The deadliest accident for a civilian transport plane is the one that killed twelve people in Costa Rica on December 31st, the last day of the year.
Five of the reported accidents involved freight aircraft and five passenger aircraft.
ASN states that, according to provisional figures, there were 36.8 million flights in 2017, resulting in the ratio of one fatal air crash for 7.360 million passenger flights.
If all accidents including military and non-commercial flights are taken into account, the number of victims climbs to 230 with a total of 24 accidents, says the same source, which makes it still safest year in aviation history, according to ASN.
The To70 report, which specializes in aviation and operates in Europe, Australia, Asia and Latin America, however, pointed out that despite the “good news”, this year’s extremely low fatal accident rate should be considered as a “stroke of luck”.
“Statistically, over thirty million flights, there is little difference between two or ten accidents,” said Adrian Young, for whom the many electronic devices in the suitcases of travelers are cause for concern because of the risk of inflammation or explosion of lithium-ion batteries.