We’re always saying that people shouldn’t allow an irrational fear of flying hinder their travel plans. It should come as a comfort to know that consulting firm To70 and the Aviation Safety Network both reported Monday that 2017 was the safest year on record for commercial air travel.
Commercial passenger jets accounted for zero fatalities worldwide in 2017. That means that literally no one who boarded one of the millions of flights on commercial jet planes, anywhere in the world, died from an accident.
The Dutch consulting firm estimated a fatal accident rate of 0.06 per million flights for large commercial passenger flights, or one fatal accident per 16 million flights.
There were 10 fatal airline accidents, including cargo planes and commercial passenger turbo prop aircraft in 2017, accounting for 44 fatalities of people onboard and 35 people on the ground.
In the meantime, the National Security Council announced that 18,680 people died in automobile accidents in the first six months of 2017, in the United States alone.
2016 had been the safest year on record, but 2017 was much safer. In 2016, there were 16 accidents and 303 deaths.
The deadliest accident in 2017 happened in January, as Turkish Airlines Flight 6491, a cargo flight, crashed into a village in Kyrgyzstan. The final death toll was 35 people on the ground, and all four people onboard.
That means that, in 2017, you were about 80 percent as likely to be killed by commercial aviation if you were minding your own business in a small Kyrgyz village as if you were a passenger on any of the millions of flights.
The old axiom that you are more likely to die in the car on your way to the airport than on your flight has been debated in the past, but with 2017 registering 3.84 times safer than the previous safest year on record, air travel is now indisputably safer.
So lay your finger down on the map, pick your spot and book your flight! You are very, very unlikely to come to harm on board. Don’t let an unfounded fear keep you from enjoying the destinations you want to see.