Flying on a regular commercial airline is not as safe as you may believe. Every year several thousand people die or get injured in airline accidents. On average 1,000 to 2,000 people die, and roughly 2,000 to 5,000 are injured every year since records began in the 1930’s.
Airline accidents are now so common that they usually don’t make headline news, and many ‘minor’ incidents involving just one or two fatalities and injuries usually go unreported in the press. Unless you have personal experience of an airline accident, you can easily go through life thinking that they virtually never occur.
One surprising fact is that ninety four percent of plane accidents happen on take off and landing. This accounts for about 88 percent of fatalities (figures for injuries are usually not recorded). The other four percent of plane accidents happen while the plane is cruising, which accounts for about 12 percent of fatalities. Source: the ‘Statistical Summary of Commercial Jet Airplane Accidents, Boeing’.
Another more astonishing fact is that pilot and cockpit crew account for over sixty percent of all airline accidents. Remember that we are talking about regular commercial airlines, without including private planes, military aircraft, etc. Source: information from the website Air Crash Info.
Since the 1930’s, when air crash statistics first started to be collected, the rate of airline accidents and fatalities has been surprisingly steady. That is, the percentage of accidents and deaths is on average about the same, year on year. So in spite of technical advances, the number of accidents and fatalities per hundred flights continues unabated.
What then are the chances of an airline passenger becoming involved in a serious plane crash? Figures going back to 1988 (OAG Back Aviation Solutions & Plane Crash Info accident database, 1988 – 2007) show the following:
The odds that you will travel on an airline which results in at least one fatality is about 1 in 3.3 million. This figure is based on traveling on a mix of different airlines (not just the airlines with the safest records). Worse still is that many of these airline accidents (about 1 in 4) results a mix of fatalities and injuries. Such injuries are often life-long (and life destroying).
Comparisons between air travel and car travel is difficult because statistics vary wildly from country to country. For example, in the USA there are on average 6 million car accidents every year, resulting in about 40,000 deaths a year.
Air travel statistics show that when you compare numbers of journeys taken (rather than mileage traveled) you are 12 times more likely to be involved in a fatal plane incident compared to a fatal car incident. In other words, air travel is much more dangerous than car travel (sources: ‘Air Travel Safety Secrets’ and ‘The Tombstone Imperative’).
You might well ask: is there anything one can do to avoid or minimize the risk of injury and death when you fly? Fortunately, the answer is a firm yes. There are some simple things that an airline passenger can do to greatly increase the chances of surviving an airline calamity without injury. Please see below for more information.
By stemark44 from Pixabay