Is flying still safe?
Wednesday, June 1, 2016
Over the recent months and years, there have a number of high profile accidents and disruptions involving planes. These have happened due to various tragic reasons causing more and more anxiety among travellers. How safe is flying really?
We live in an age where safety is paramount in most walks of life. “That’s health and safety gone mad” is an expression that can often be heard up and down the UK by people yearning for simpler times when health and safety were not the buzzwords they are today.
When it comes to air travel, however, the general consensus is the safer the better. In fact, despite recent events, air travel has probably never been safer. The air travel industry is motivated by security and is strictly governed by regulations, that ensure that the safety record of commercial flying continues to get better.
More than just a plane, it’s a big old network.
Most people think about air travel and only consider the plane as the mode of transportation. The aircraft, however, is part of a much wider transport network, that needs to run smoothly for a safe journey. When you're next on your way to the airport, consider the airline operations, maintenance, the various crews of staff, the airport itself, security, the traffic control system and most importantly the weather. If one piece of that jigsaw does not fit then the puzzle goes unsolved and no planes take to the sky.
It's all in the numbers
The Bureau of Aircraft Accidents Archives, a Swiss organisation that collects and analyses data on global aircraft accidents, compared the number of plane crashes of the last 30+ years. According to statistics, the number of crashes has steadily gone down since the 1940s. The worst year on record is said to be 1978, with nearly 350 aircraft accidents. In contrast, 2015 recorded less than 25.
As for the number of plane-related deaths, the last 30 years have shown significant improvement. The worst recorded year was in 1972, with nearly 3500 deaths. From thereon, the numbers, fortunately, declined quite a bit. In 2014 however, death tolls rose once more to nearly 1500, before plummeting to approximately 100 in 2015.
All in all, numbers show that flying indeed has become much safer over the years. It is and remains safer than any other mode of transport and you can rest assured that there are ongoing and meticulous operations to ensure it remains that way.