Recent events – including the apparent shootdown of Malaysia Airlines MH17 and the disappearance of MH370, together with recent fatal accidents in Mali and Taiwan – have led to a great deal of dreadful media coverage for the airline industry. But, despite impressions, the long-term trend is that travelling by air is getting safer.

Flightglobal has been reviewing accident and incident rates at six monthly intervals for many years, and analysis shows that the first half of 2014 was so free of aircraft accidents worldwide that the industry is having to prepare to fight the safety management complacency that may result.

Nepal crash

The 30 June fatal crash of Nepal Airlines Twin Otter was the only one involving a commercial passenger aircraft in the first six months

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A snapshot of global airline safety performance for just six months would not be significant on its own, but it is demonstrably part of a steady progression toward better airline safety over decades – and that trend is continuing. Taking safety for granted is a danger highlighted by Dr Michel Masson of the European Aviation Safety Agency.

To put today's aviation safety record in a historical context, Flightglobal Ascend's safety consultant Paul Hayes also examines how many fatal accidents would be occurring today if the accident rates that were achieved by airlines in 1950 were still happening now. Read our half-year safety review here.

Source: Flight International