Air travel 'safer than ever' despite high-profile disasters

Ruth Doherty



2014 the safest year for flying on record
2014 the safest year for flying on record



Despite appearances, air travel is actually safer than ever with the number of fatal accidents compared with the number of flights at a record low in 2014, according to experts.

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) said its figures showed that last year was safest in the history of commercial aviation, despite the two high-profile crashes involving Malaysian Airlines flights MH370 and MH17, in which hundreds of people died.

Tony Tyler, IATA's director general and chief executive officer, told the Daily Telegraph: "While aviation safety was in the headlines in 2014, the data shows that flying continues to improve its safety performance."

However, while the number of fatal accidents compared with the total number of flights was at a record low, more people died in air accidents in 2014 than the average in recent years.

IATA, which represents about 250 airlines, said in an annual safety report that there were 12 fatal accidents in 2014 with 641 fatalities, compared with 19 fatal accidents and 517 fatalities per year in the five-year period between 2009 and 2013.

It did not include the loss of Malaysian Airlines Flight MH17 over Ukraine, where 298 people died, as it was classified as a war crime rather than an accident.

The BBC's Transport Correspondent Richard Westcott, says that looking at the number of crashes and fatalities compared with the large number of people flying - 3.2 billion passengers in 2014 - we are actually in "a golden era of aircraft safety".

Analysts Ascend also say that 2014 was the safest year ever, with one fatal accident per 2.38 million flight.

It also did not include the loss of MH17.

But another organisation, the Aviation Safety Network, said there were 21 fatal accidents in 2014 (including the Ukraine), compared to 29 in 2013 and 23 in 2012.

David Learmount, from Flightglobal, told the BBC that flying was getting safer due to the continuing development of technology.



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