Many travelers have found themselves taking the time to check out what aircraft they’ll be flying on when purchasing tickets in an effort to avoid flying on the now infamous Boeing 737 Max. This is completely understandable given the recent string of news detailing the safety issues that have been plaguing the Boeing 737. As it turns out that fear of flying be less safe today is true, but it’s not because of Boeing.
Numbers don’t lie, and the data shows that flying is less safe now than it was before. Over the last four years, 523 public flights have crashed—a record high. So what happened to what was once considered the safest form of travel? In short: it got popular.
The demand for air travel has been steadily increasing over the last decade, and despite recent safety issues it shows no real signs of slowing down. That rapid increase in customers has left many airlines struggling to keep up. That means that airlines are lacking in pilots, maintenance staff and safety inspectors. Of course, they are hiring to fill the gap but there is a very real limit as to how much they can spend.
Geoffrey Dell, a safety scientist at Central Queensland University in Australia spoke with the Insurance Journal about this issue. “You get what you pay for,” said Dell. “Everyone is moving back to a minimum regulatory standard. It’s designed to give you the best outcome for the cheapest price.”
So, what’s the solution? The airline industry needs to continue to invest in their future and build up a staff and infrastructure that can handle the influx of air travelers. In the meantime, frequent travelers can take solace in knowing that air traveler is still relatively safe.
According to the Insurance Journal approximately 4.3 billion passengers safely traveled through the air in 2018. That means the chances of an accident are roughly one in a million. The chances of getting in a crash crash are still far higher.
So yes, air travel is more dangerous than ever before, but that’s still not that dangerous in the grand scheme.