For the big aviation story of the year to be a crash is not so unusual; the history of flight has been punctuated by disaster. But there is no discussing 2019 without reference to Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302. The deaths of all on board – 157 souls – was human tragedy enough, but to follow by just a few months a disturbingly similar loss, half a world away, undermined the confidence in design, regulation and operation that keeps the world flying. We open our review of the year with a report on the implications of trouble with the Boeing 737 Max family.