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2017 was the safest year on record for commercial passenger flights

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roddalitz in reply to Tom Meadowcroft

I disagree, once you have the design in place, whether it is hardware like transponders or algorithms like holding patterns and safe separation, they don't cost much to continue. In your automobile, you're not going to save much by taking out the airbags.


The number of individual trips this represents is about 3.6 billion. Doing anything to 3.6 billion people without killing anyone is kind of impressive, and in this case that thing involves flying them along 10km above the ground at 900kph in an aluminum tube with four million separate components.
Of course, the underlying level of risk isn't the same as the accident rate over any particular period; we can probably still expect one or more serious accidents most years (especially as the number of flights rises). But the safety of flying has gone from remarkable to astonishing.

Leading Edge Boomer

In the US, there has not been a commercial airline fatality since 2013. There has been no fatality in the US by a US carrier since 2009. Nevertheless, Our Dotard took credit for no fatalities in 2017.

Tom Meadowcroft

The rate of accidents, injuries, and fatalities is so low that it is highly likely that we are spending far more than is optimal complying with regulations in this industry. Flying could be much cheaper if it wasn't so safe.

"I get the sarcasm"

No sarcasm, actually, just a little dismal science. Such a tiny rate of accidents indicates that the emphasis on safety is likely overdone. In any industry, there is a balance between safety and efficacy. The airline industry may have tipped the scales too far in one direction. Certainly any major investment in safety improvements to airlines or airliners would be hard to justify at this time.

Catrachos in reply to Tom Meadowcroft

Crashing an airplane isn't cheap.
And a National Geographic article notes that part of the cost of flying results from decisions made by passengers. An airliner’s cost of operating rises with every laptop (33 cents per flight), pillow (6 cents), or magazine (5 cents) you bring along. The good news is that modern airliners consume roughly half the fuel to move the same number of passengers the same distance as they airliners did 40 years ago.
In inflation adjusted dollars, flying is a lot cheaper than it used to be.


Our president, Mr. Trump, claims that this record safety in commercial passenger flights is exclusively his merit. We can now expect his next claim that he makes the sun rise.

Tom Meadowcroft in reply to roddalitz

I see your point regarding hardware, but much of safety is procedural, involving people and systems. We should be moving more aggressively to exploit the latest in air traffic control technology, for instance, to fit more planes into the same volume of sky.