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Aviation

Donald Trump tries to take credit for ‘the safest year in aviation history’ as zero die on commercial jets in 2017

There were only 79 deaths worldwide, all involving turboprop or cargo aircraft

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 02 January, 2018, 12:55pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 03 January, 2018, 1:04am

Last year was the safest in aviation history, with zero deaths on any commercial passenger jets around the world – and now US President Donald Trump is trying to take credit.

Dutch aviation consulting firm To70 and the Aviation Safety Network both reported Monday there were no commercial passenger jet fatalities in 2017. “2017 was the safest year for aviation ever,” said Adrian Young of To70.

Never one to let a grandstanding opportunity fly by, Trump tweeted on Tuesday that since taking office “I have been very strict on Commercial Aviation. Good news – it was just reported that there were Zero deaths in 2017, the best and safest year on record!”

While it’s true that there were no commercial airline fatalities in the world in 2017, that is due to far more than just US influence.

Airline deaths have been dropping not just in America, but also around the world for more than a decade.

The last commercial airline fatalities in the US happened in July 2013. Three passengers were killed when Asiana Airlines Flight 214 crashed while landing at San Francisco International Airport.

The last fatal passenger jet airliner accident worldwide took place in November 2016 near Medellin, Colombia and the last commercial passenger aircraft crash to kill more than 100 people occurred in October 2015 in Egypt.

To70 estimated that the fatal accident rate for large commercial passenger flights is 0.06 per million flights, or one fatal accident for every 16 million flights.

The Aviation Safety Network also reported there were no commercial passenger jet deaths in 2017.

However, it said that there were 10 fatal airliner accidents resulting in 44 fatalities on-board and 35 persons on the ground, including cargo planes and commercial passenger turbo prop aircraft, as opposed to jet aircraft.

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[2017 was] the safest year ever, both by the number of fatal accidents as well as in terms of fatalities
The Aviation Safety Network

That figure includes 12 people killed on December 31, 2017 when a Nature Air Cessna 208B Grand Caravan aircraft crashed minutes after take-off into a mountainous area off the beach town of Punta Islita, Costa Rica. The single-engine prop plane reportedly cartwheeled before it went down, killing a family of five and seven others.

In comparison, there were 16 accidents and 303 deaths in 2016 among airliners.

The deadliest incident last year occurred in January when a Turkish cargo jet smashed into a village in Kyrgyzstan as it tried to land at a nearby airport in dense fog, killing 35 on the ground and all four on-board.

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The Aviation Safety Network said 2017 was “the safest year ever, both by the number of fatal accidents as well as in terms of fatalities.”

Over the last two decades aviation deaths around the world have been steadily falling. As recently as 2005, there were 1,015 deaths aboard commercial passenger flights worldwide, the Aviation Safety Network said.

In 2016, 412 people were killed in the United States in aviation accidents – nearly all in general aviation accidents and none on commercial passenger airlines.

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Despite the stellar safety record of commercial passenger airlines last year, it wasn’t all good news.

There were a number of high-profile incidents relating to the treatment of passengers that cast a harsh light on airline customer service.

In April, United Airlines’ reputation took a beating when passenger David Dao was violently dragged off an overbooked flight in Chicago, triggering protests and a lawsuit.

Additional reporting by Associated Press