Commercial Air Travel Was Safer Than Ever In 2017, Studies Find

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Kicking off the year with some good news, it looks as though the past twelve months were the best ever – well, in terms of air travel, at least.

As two separate reports from Dutch aviation consultant To70 and the Aviation Safety Network (ASN) have announced, 2017 is the safest year on record for commercial flights with no passenger jet crashes recorded anywhere in the world throughout the entire year. 

Sully, Clint Eastwood. (Photo: Warner Bros.)

According to the ASN, which has been logging data about airplane accidents since 1947, there were 10 fatal accidents on airline flights in 2016, killing a total of 79 victims (44 passengers and 35 on the ground).

The organization bases its figures on incidents involving non-military aircraft carrying at least 14 people. A Nature Air crash of a single-propeller plane in Costa Rica that took the lives of 12 people on December 31 caused the most on-board fatalities of 2017.

While To7o praises the year's "extraordinarily low" accident rate, it reminds us it is simply down to "good fortune". 

Nonetheless, if we are to believe ASN's preliminary figures, the news means that, at least for 2017, air travel was almost 100% safe. Given that 36.8 million commercial flights took off in 2017, the safety ratio is therefore one fatal accident for every 7,360 flights. 

The organization also reminds us that 2005 counted more than 1,015 air travel-related deaths. Since then, safety rates have only improved despite ever-increasing numbers of airline flights. The last crash to claim the lives of more than one hundred victims dates back to 2015, when 224 people died in Egypt. 

If we include military and cargo aircraft, the number of deaths rises to 230 for a total of 24 accidents. Nonetheless, 2017 remains the safest year on record for air transport and that little fact may just go some way to calming down the nervous flyer in your life.