Flying Is Safest Since Dawn of Jet Age – WSJ.com
Air travel is now the safest it has been since the dawn of jet planes, with the global airline industry set to mark its lowest rate of fatal accidents since the early 1960s.
There have been 22 fatal crashes world-wide this year, a number that includes all passenger and cargo flights, down from 28 crashes in 2011, according to data assembled by the Aviation Safety Network, which compiles accident and incident information online. That crash count is down from a 10-year average of 34 fatal accidents per year.
The U.S. hasn’t had a fatal accident since a commuter plane crashed near Buffalo, N.Y., in 2009.
Airline safety has improved steadily over the years, and accident rates in the U.S. and elsewhere began dropping with the advent of voluntary incident-reporting programs that encourage pilots and mechanics to pass on information about mistakes without fear of retribution.
Other reasons for the safety improvements include better and more reliable equipment, improved pilot training, advances in air-traffic-control procedures and tighter regulatory oversight in some developing countries.
Of the year’s 22 fatal crashes, just 10 involved passenger aircraft, and just three of those were larger Western-built jetliners.
The other seven passenger-plane incidents involved Western- or Russian-built turboprops, according to Ascend, an international consulting firm that assembles a separate year-end safety breakdown.