Airline fatalities have actually declined over the past few years: Expert

Starting with missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 in March and continuing with three separate crashes in the past week — Air Algerie Flight AH5017, the TransAsia flight in Taiwan and last week’s downed flight over Ukraine — stories of airline emergencies have dominated headlines worldwide. Despite these tragedies, airline fatalities have actually declined significantly over the past few years. Less than one in 2 million flights last year ended in an accident in which the plane was damaged beyond repair, according to the International Air Transport Association – that includes accidents involving cargo and charter airlines as well as scheduled passenger flights.

[Aviation is] fundamentally safe and getting safer, but it can always fall prey to the mistakes or ill will of man… We sometimes forget the magic of flight, or the fragility of life, but this week has brought home the need to appreciate this more and protect both better.

former FAA chief counsel Kenneth Quinn

An International Air Transport Association report shows that fatalities decreased from a peak of 786 in 2010 to 210 deaths in 2013. Meanwhile, the number of total accidents has remained largely stagnant over the same time period. However, flying over regional hot spots is still considered risky.

North Korea may not be in the news for a week, but it’s still a place you don’t want to fly over… The idea of safely flying over these hot spots is something that has to be dispelled. Even crude rocket technology has the capability of reaching high altitudes.

Aviation expert and former FAA dispatcher William J. McGee