Flying in a plane has long been more safe than driving in a car. That has only become more true in 2019. New data shows that the number of people killed in commercial airline crashes dropped more than 50% in 2019.
The Dutch consulting firm, To70 recently released a report detailing aviation accidents throughout the last year. According to To70 there were a total of 86 accidents that involved large commercial airliners. Eight of those 86 accidents ended up having fatal consequences. All told, 257 people died during a major airline incident in 2019. For comparison, there were 160 accidents in 2018, 13 of which were fatal. In 2018 a total of 534 people died in a major airline incident.
These numbers are a surprise to many, after a year where Boeing made many headlines for their defective 737 Max aircraft. In fact, those who follow this space will remember that Boeing’s CEO Dennis Muilenburg was fired by the board in late December.
One particularly memorable portion of the To70 report reflect on the focus of the aviation industry as a whole. To70 writes that the industry spent 2019 “…focusing on so-called ‘future threats’ such as drones.” But the MAX crashes “…are a reminder that we need to retain our focus on the basics that make civil aviation so safe: well-designed and well-built aircraft flown by fully informed and well-trained crews.”
The Claims Journal dug deeper into the study, writing that “…the fatal accident rate for large airplanes in commercial passenger air transport was just 0.18 fatal accident per million flights in 2019, or an average one fatal accident every 5.58 million flights, a significant improvement over 2018.”
2017 still holds the record for the safety year of aviation. In 2017 there were only two fatal accidents that resulted in 13 deaths. Both of those accidents involved prop planes, which means there were zero fatal commercial deaths accidents that year. Here’s hoping 2020 is even more safe than 2019 for air travel.