Looking good so far

This first appeared as a Comment in the 8 July issue of Flight International

It may only be six months of statistics, but airline ­safety in the first half of 2014 has again confounded any determined doom-mongers that might still have been lurking out there.
The missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 casts a shadow over perceived safety performance, but it cannot strictly be considered an accident. Apart from the fact that no trace of it or its 239 occupants has yet been found, the official belief is that the loss was probably the result of deliberate action by someone on board.
Even counting MH370 this year has been good, but setting it aside as a statistical anomaly (until proven ­otherwise), the last six months represent an astounding performance. There was just one fatal accident involving a commercial passenger flight: a 19-seater de Havilland Canada Twin Otter. Ten years ago there were seven fatal accidents involving passenger aircraft in the first six months, 30 years ago there were 10 in an exceptionally safe year for the time (1984), and in 1974 there were 34.
This year’s figures are an initial estimate assembled on 1 July, just as the period under study ends, but it will be pretty close to the truth.
However, for a full analysis of 2014’s significance, readers will be able to consult the 29 July-4 August issue. There were many non-fatal accidents in the first six months, and those warn of fatal crashes waiting to happen unless they are taken seriously.

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