Via the Aviation Safety Network:
Over the year 2014 the Aviation Safety Network recorded a total of 21 fatal airliner accidents, resulting in 990 fatalities. This makes 2014 the safest year ever by number of fatal accidents and the 24th safest year ever in terms of fatalities. Most accidents involved cargo flights (10) and passenger flights (8). Given the expected worldwide air traffic of 33,000,000 flights, the accident rate is 1 fatal passenger flight accident per 4,125,000 flights.
I happened to see this article today on Twitter, and thought it a good idea to share. I think those of us that fly a lot know how safe air travel is. But for me, the pretty impressive thing is, despite 3 high profile incidents (and a handful of lower profile ones), less than 1,000 people lost their lives in commercial airliner accidents last year.
Looking at some of the additional detail of the 21 fatal incidents, there aren’t a whole lot of surprises, for example, 11 of the incidents occurred in Africa. I don’t really talk very much about it, but the aviation industry in Africa really is a curiosity of mine. Like other industries, there isn’t a whole lot of infrastructure, and that costs money. Other industries, like telecom, countries like Ghana seemed to skip traditional copper lines and embraced wireless. Perhaps there’s an opportunity to do something similar in the aviation industry.
After Africa, the next highest incident rate was Asia (5). Of course two of them were very much in the news, but, there has been rather significant growth in Asia. Again, some of these incidents occured in areas that didn’t have aviation infrastructure (aka radars).
I’m no expert, but when I look at some of the incidents, a common thread for some, is a lack of radar coverage, however, I’m not sure that it contributed to the incidents. A big debate right now is global aircraft tracking and real-time streaming of black box data to the cloud. I’m not even sure that enacting those two, would prevent accidents. Don’t get me wrong, there’s a lot to be learned after an incident, but neither global aircraft tracking or real-time streaming of black box data seem to me to help prevent. As close as I can see it, they would provide more timely response and recovery.
All said, I think the numbers prove that flying is very safe. The interesting question that the industry has in the near term is, what steps it will take in the wake of some high profile incidents this past year.
What are your thoughts?