After the Boeing 737 debacle with two fatal crashes and the worldwide grounding of the planes, the traveling public has been more aware of aviation safety. So just how safe are you when you fly? The answer is VERY SAFE.
- Fewer fatal accidents, but growing number of costly claims for the aviation industry and insurers from collisions, groundings and aircraft repairs
- Analysis of 50,000 aviation insurance claims shows collision/crash incidents major cause of loss, followed by faulty workmanship and machinery breakdown
- Bird strikes a notable cause of loss. Almost 15,000 reported wildlife collisions in the US alone a year. Average claim costs US$360,000
- Future risk trends: more costly grounding incidents, business interruption incidents from cyber and drone events; more turbulence from climate change
Safety in the aviation sector is of critical importance. Despite a record number of passengers, statistics show that flying has never been safer. Between 1959 and 2017, there were 29,298 recorded deaths from 500 global commercial passenger jet fleet events. However, between 2008 and 2017, there were 2,199 fatalities from 37 events, or less than 8% of the total number. In 2017, for the first time in at least 60 years of aviation, there were no fatalities on a commercial airline. Even 2018, which saw a total of 15 fatal airliner accidents, ranks as the third safest year ever. The lifetime chances of a person dying in a commercial aviation accident are extremely unlikely compared with other forms of transport such as a car or bicycle accident, as well as other more unexpected scenarios such as accidental gun discharge or dog attack.
The continuous improvement in aviation safety can be attributed to a number of factors. Aircraft have become more reliable. Safety systems and cultures have improved enormously. A number of design implementations have had a dramatic impact on accident rates, including aerodynamic and airframe improvements, fail-safe design criteria, improvements to cockpit instrumentation and the increasing number of fly-by-wire controlled aircraft in operation. Improvements in science have also allowed the aviation industry to better understand how human factors affect safety. At the same time, there have also been significant improvements in manufacturing processes, aircraft operations and regulation.
ABOUT THE INFOGRAPHIC: Accident rates and onboard fatalities by year – Since the 1950s the safety record of the aviation industry has seen significant improvement, based on accident rates. The accident rate is a measurement used to determine flight operations safety, which is measured by the number of accidents per million departures. During the 1950s and 1960s the accident rate was high, but within little over a decade it had declined significantly with recent accident rates at just over 0.01 per million for the US and Canada and 0.035 for the rest of the world.
Source: Boeing Statistical Summary Of Commercial Jet Airplane Accidents Worldwide Operations 1959 -2017, October 2018
Our conclusion when we’re asked how safe are you when you fly is, very safe, but we always want to strive for even safer skies.