What's the Latest Development?
According to data recently released from the Netherlands-based Aviation Safety Network, 2012 was the safest year for air travel since 1945, with 23 fatal airliner accidents. Of those, only 11 involved passenger aircraft. Both numbers are well below the 10-year averages -- 34 and 16, respectively -- and indicate the continuation of a downward trend now in its 15th year. They also help bolster the belief that flying really is the safest way to travel: Last year there was approximately one fatal crash for every 2.5 million flights.
What's the Big Idea?
While there are many factors attributed to improved air safety, infrastructure and aircraft age may also play a role. Of 2012's 23 fatal crashes, five were in African countries, where the planes used are often significantly older. One country, Russia, saw four crashes, including last month's at a Moscow airport where the plane slid off the runway and into a highway, killing 5. In the US, there was only one fatal crash, involving an air cargo flight; the last fatal passenger airliner crash occurred in 2009.