It hasn’t been a good month for the air travel industry. Every few days brought with it bad news that should make even the most seasoned traveler think twice before boarding a plane. Reports of air cargo bombs, fuselages ripping apart, and engine failures should make Amtrak and the family van much more appealing.
You would think. But the data shows that air travelers are a surprisingly resilient bunch. In fact, the Air Transport Association reports that bookings around the Thanksgiving holiday are expected to be up 3.5 percent over 2009. Do air travelers have their heads in the clouds or are they seeing clear skies? Consider these statistics:
- Approximately 1,075 flights fly out of New York’s JFK International airport every day. Nationally, over 27,942 flights take off daily, and over 10 million flights annually.
- The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) found that the number of airline accidents has decreased over the past decade.
- In 2009, there were 26 airline accidents, one being fatal with 50 victims in 2009. Compared to motor vehicles, there were over 5.5 million traffic accidents, 30,797 being fatal with 33,808 victims in 2009, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. We want these numbers to say zero. Any lost of life shouldn’t be taken lightly.
- The packages from Yemen that contained bombs were intercepted in England and the United Arab Emirates before any explosions occurred. Then the American Airlines flight from Miami to Boston made a safe landing after a hole opened up in its fuselage. And the Quantas Airbus A380 made a successful emergency landing after the engine failed.
Despite the headlines, the data shows that air travel is still the safest way to get from point A to point B. Sure, the airline industry does has its problems. It’s a little ridiculous when a senior citizen with a walker has to stop and take their shoes off to be inspected. We need to deal with these issues.
But on the principle issue of airline safety, traveling by air has never been safer despite the determined efforts of terrorists and the inevitability of Murphy’s Law.
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What do you think? Do you feel safe traveling the skies? Tell me about it in a comment on this post.