Wednesday, 3 January 2018

Safest year for airlines

In a year when more people flew to more places than ever, 2017 was the safest on record for airline passengers. The Civil Aviation Safety Review for 2017 reported only two fatal accidents, both involving small turbo-prop aircraft, with a total of 13 lives lost. No jets crashed in passenger service anywhere in the world. The two crashes which occurred on New Year’s Eve – a seaplane in Sydney which killed six, and a Cessna Caravan which crashed in Costa Rica, killing all 12 on board – are not included in the tally, since both aircraft weighed under 5,700kg - the threshold for the report. The first fatal accident included in the report was in October: an Embraer Brasilia operating as an air ambulance in Angola. The pilots lost control after reportedly suffering an engine failure, Seven people died, including the patient. In November, a Czech-built Let 410 belonging to Khabarovsk Avia crashed on landing at Nelkan in the Russian Far East with the loss of six lives. A four-year-old girl was the only survivor. The chances of a plane being involved in a fatal accident is now one in 16 million. The last year when no crashes from commercial flights were recorded was in 1959. In 2016, 271 people lost their lives in seven fatal events. The death toll in the two previous years was significantly higher. In 2015, 471 people died in four crashes, and in 2014, 864 people died in five crashes. There were 37.4 million flights scheduled in 2014! This means an average of 102,465 flights per day, worldwide.  There are 49,871 routes being served globally.  According to aviation analysts, the total number of aircraft currently in service is approximately 23,600 - that includes passenger and cargo aircraft. It reckons there are 2,500 more in storage. If one was to include all commercial and military planes (but not light aircraft) it is estimated that there are some 39,000 planes in the world - and that over the course of history, there have been more than 150,000.

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