We might be sulking about how bad a year 2017 was, thanks to several historical decisions that the world took (Donald Trump, anyone?), but turns out we might have some reason to be happy. 2017 was the safest year on record in commercial aviation history, with not one single death in commercial passenger jets.
Airlines recorded zero accident deaths in commercial passenger jets last year, according to a Dutch consulting firm and an aviation safety group that tracks crashes, making 2017 the safest year on record for commercial air travel.
To70 estimated that the fatal accident rate for large commercial passenger flights is 0.06 per million flights, or one fatal accident for every 16 million flights.
The Aviation Safety Network also reported there were no commercial passenger jet deaths in 2017, but 10 fatal airliner accidents resulting in 44 fatalities on board and 35 persons on the ground, including cargo planes and commercial passenger turbo prop aircraft.
2017 IN AVIATION
- COMMERCIAL PASSENGER JET DEATHS: 0
- FATAL AIRLINER ACCIDENTS: 10
- FATALITIES: 44 ON-BOARD, 35 ON GROUND (INCLUDING CARGO PLANES AND COMMERCIAL PASSENGER TURBO PROP AIRCRAFT)
That figure includes 12 people killed on December 31 when a Nature Air Cessna 208B Grand Caravan aircraft crashed minutes after takeoff into a mountainous area off the beach town of Punta Islita, Costa Rica.
In comparison, there were 16 accidents and 303 deaths in 2016 among airliners.
The deadliest incident last year occurred in January, when a Turkish cargo jet smashed into a village in Kyrgyzstan as it tried to land at a nearby airport in dense fog, killing 35 on the ground and all four on board.
The Aviation Safety Network said 2017 was “the safest year ever, both by the number of fatal accidents as well as in terms of fatalities.”
In 2017, among the airline accidents, five involved cargo flights and five were passenger flights. One out of 10 accident airplanes was operated by an airline on the EU “blacklist”.
Given the expected worldwide air traffic of about 36,800,000 flights, the accident rate is one fatal passenger flight accident per 7,360,000 flights.
The low number of accidents comes as no surprise, according to ASN President Harro Ranter. Ranter said, “Since 1997, the average number of airliner accidents has shown a steady and persistent decline, for a great deal thanks to the continuing safety-driven efforts by international aviation organisations such as ICAO, IATA, Flight Safety Foundation and the aviation industry.”
On December 31, aviation had a record period of 398 days with no passenger jet airliner accidents. Additionally, a record period of 792 days passed since the previous civil aircraft accident claiming over 100 lives, says ASN.
Over the last two decades, aviation deaths around the world have been steadily falling. As recently as 2005, there were 1,015 deaths aboard commercial passenger flights worldwide, the Aviation Safety Network said.
The last fatal passenger jet airliner accident worldwide took place in November 2016 near Medellin, Colombia and the last commercial passenger aircraft crash to kill more than 100 people occurred in October 2015 in Egypt.
2017: THE SAFEST YEAR IN AVIATION HISTORY
The ASN says that its statistics are ‘based on all worldwide fatal commercial aircraft accidents (passenger and cargo flights) involving civil aircraft of which the basic model has been certified for carrying 14 or more passengers.’
As a result, the June 7 accident involving a Myanmar Air Force Y-8F transport plane that killed 122 is not included in the list of accidents.
However, even after including military transport aircraft as well as non-commercial flights, the total number fatalities would be 230 in 24 fatal accidents. Still the lowest numbers in modern aviation history, says the website.
THE FIVE DEADLIEST COMMERCIAL FLIGHT CRASHES
1. Tenerife Airport Disaster: March 27, 1977
Two Boeing 747s; one belonging to KLM and the other, PanAm, collided head on on a foggy runway in Los Rodeos airport in Tenerife.
2. Japan Airlines Flight 123: August 12, 1985
When Japan Airlines’ Flight 123 spiralled out of control and crashed into Mount Takamagahara in central Japan, only four people survived out of the 524 on board. Till date, it is counted as the largest single aircraft accident in aviation history.
3. Charkhi Dadri mid-air collision: November 12, 1996
The Charkhi Dadri accident is the worst mid-air crash in the world. When Saudia Flight 763 from Delhi to Dahran, and Kazakhstan Airlines Flight 1907 from Shymkent to Delhi collided mid-air over the city of Charkhi Dadri in northern India, 349 people were killed. Out of the 349, 312 were on board the Saudia flight, and 37 were on the Kazakhstan Airlines flight.
4. Turkish Airlines Flight 981: March 3, 1974
It was a design flaw on the Turkish Airlines Flight 981 from Orly Airport in Paris to Heathrow in London that led to one of the worst aviation disasters in modern history. The aircraft, carrying 335 passengers and 11 crew members crashed nose-down into the Ermenonville forest, north of the French capital, right after take off.
5. Air India Flight 182: June 23, 1985
This incident was spoken of as the world’s deadliest terror attack involving a plane, for more than a decade-and-a-half, before 9/11 dislodged it from that position. The Air India Flight 182 from Toronto in Canada to Mumbai in India, exploded mid-air after a bomb planted by Sikh terrorist organisation Babbar Khalsa went off, with the aircraft crashing into the Atlantic Ocean in Irish airspace and killing all 329 on board.