Since the first news broke on social media about the crash of Asiana Airlines Flight 214 at San Francisco International Airport, our worldwide team has been busily putting together events, sourcing information and helping to keep our community up to date with this quickly evolving story. Fortunately it is very rare for a commercial jetliner to crash and even rarer these days for there to be serious injuries and fatalities. But every crash leads to questions and every crash also creates rumors and concerns within the general public and so we thought it’d be useful to put together this primer on the Boeing 777, one of the world’s most successful and safest planes.
The B777 is lovingly referred to as the “Triple 7” within the industry and among airplane enthusiasts. The Triple 7 began firsts commercial service in 1995 and according to Boeing, that first B777 is still in service having accumulated some 5 million flights and more than 18 million flight hours. The Asiana jet that crashed was seven years old, making it relatively new for a commercial airliner.
According to the Aviation Safety Network, an international database of airline safety information, this Asiana crash was the first incident involving a B777 that resulted in fatalities. The B777 has been involved in two hull loss accidents, which means the aircraft suffered damage, although neither accident involved fatalities. The San Francisco accident may seem similar to a Jan. 17, 2008 incident in which a British Airways Triple 7 touched down about 1,000 feet short of the runway at London’s Heathrow Airport, tearing off the landing gear and seriously injuring one passenger as it skidded to a halt. But Aviation Safety Experts are quick to point out that it is too early to draw parallels.
What we can say is that the B777 is a workhorse and a much-loved plane. The wide-body aircraft comes in multiple variations and can carry as many as 450 passengers. In 2005, the plane set a world record for a commercial nonstop flight, flying 13,422 miles east from Hong Kong to London. Boeing calls the B777, “the world’s most successful twin-engine, long-haul airplane.” As of June 2013, 60 customers had placed orders for 1,452 aircraft of all variants, with 1,113 delivered. This is an impressive record for an impressive airplane. And let’s be clear, the Triple 7 has earned a stellar safety record.
So today while we can’t tell you what caused the Asiana crash our team of flight and travel experts can say that the B777 is a very safe and reliable aircraft. Furthermore flying has never been safer. In fact the last U.S. commercial aviation crash with fatalities took place in 2009 when Colgan Air 3407 (acting on behalf of Continental) crashed en route to Buffalo, NY., killing 49 people on board and one person on the ground. While the industry obviously strives for zero accidents and no deaths or injuries, they have done a remarkable job on making flying safe. Our team flies again tomorrow without a hint of worry or concern and you should feel comfortable returning back to the skies as well.