Date
23 July 2017
Commercial aviation in the US has become so safe pilots routinely go through an entire career without experiencing engine trouble serious enough to result in an in-flight shutdown. Photo: AP
Commercial aviation in the US has become so safe pilots routinely go through an entire career without experiencing engine trouble serious enough to result in an in-flight shutdown. Photo: AP

US domestic airlines’ 2014 accident rate near record low

US airlines have logged five straight years without a fatal crash, according to federal aviation authorities. 

Last year’s accident rate for domestic carriers was one accident for roughly 300,000 departures, barely higher than the record low figure of one accident for every 400,000 flights the year before.

However, a spate of foreign crashes has left the average flyer concerned about safety, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Last year, 641 people died around the world in commercial aviation.

But the rate of serious jet accidents hit a historic low, according to the International Air Transport Association, the leading global airline industry trade group.

The US latest data works out to one accident per 700,000 flight hours, or about half as frequently as during the late 1990s.

Commercial aviation in the US has become so safe that pilots routinely go through an entire career without ever experiencing engine trouble serious enough to result in an in-flight shutdown.

In the extremely rare circumstance that an engine falters precisely during the moment of takeoff — the most critical moment of any flight — some jetliner models have automated systems able to compensate and safely make the plane climb with minimal input from the cockpit crew.

Based on statistics, taxiing around crowded airports has become the most hazardous portion of flights in the US.

“We find ourselves with the kind of problem you want to have,” according to Peggy Gilligan, the Federal Aviation Administration’s top safety official.

“Safety numbers are already so low that you must count close calls, accidents that didn’t happen” to target safety enhancements, she said.

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