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2017 Was Statistically the Safest Time in Civil Aviation Since the Dawn of Flight

Emergency exit door of an abandoned aircraft

There were only two fatal crashes involving scheduled commercial airliners last year. Both of the tragedies struck small turbo-prop planes, making 2017 the safest year ever to be an air traveler.

With an endless string of high-profile news stories about flyers being mistreated, cabins becoming ever more cramped and new hidden fees being dreamed up nearly every day, passengers have plenty of reasons to complain about the airlines, but in the one area that truly matters, the aviation industry has been wildly successful. According to a just released report, 2017 appears to be the single safest year in the history of commercial flight.

Netherlands-based aviation consulting firm to70’s annual Civil Aviation Review for 2017 revealed a near-perfect safety record for airlines around the globe. There were notably few preventable aviation-related fatalities last year, despite the steady growth in air travel over the same time period.

“The past year has been another exceptionally good year for civil aviation safety,” to70 said, introducing a review of last year’s astounding safety performance. “With only two fatal accidents to passenger airliners, both involving small turbo-prop planes, 2017 was much better than could reasonably (and statistically) be expected, and was again better than last year’s remarkable performance. However, the risks to civil aviation do remain high, as the seriousness of some of the non-fatal accidents shows.”

The 2017 review trumped the encouraging statistics from 2016, which was also regarded among the safest years in aviation in its own right. In 2016, there were seven recorded accidents involving “technical failure, human error or unlawful interference” resulting in 271 fatalities. The two fatal accidents recorded last year caused the deaths of 13 people.

The report illustrates a continuing overall trend in recent years of air travel becoming increasingly safer. 2015 was something of an outlier, with hundreds of fatalities resulting from incidents determined to be caused by unlawful interference. By contrast, none of the accidents considered in 2017 were believed to have been caused intentionally.

U.S. President Donald Trump, who once made his own short-lived foray into the airline industry, trumpeted the rosy aviation safety numbers in a post on social media on Tuesday. While he received some support for his “tough stand” on the aviation industry as a whole, the president was also roundly mocked for appearing to take credit for the impressive decades-long safety record of commercial aviation.

“Since taking office I have been very strict on Commercial Aviation,” President Trump wrote on Twitter. “Good news – it was just reported that there were Zero deaths in 2017, the best and safest year on record!”

[Photo: Shutterstock]

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JackE January 8, 2018

Obama gets 19 days worth of credit.