Despite all the exploding hoverboards, smoking laptop batteries, and inescapable in-flight performances, a new report finds that 2017 was the safest year ever for commercial air travel. There were no passenger jet crashes anywhere in the world, according to separate reports by Dutch consultancy To70, and The Aviation Safety Network found, compared to 2016, there were 71 civil aviation accidents, six of which were fatal. However, as the BBC notes, their report only includes large passenger jets, not smaller passenger planes, so those crashes were not included in the tally.
Cargo jets weren’t quite so lucky. The Airline Safety Network reports that there were a total of 10 fatal accidents involving cargo jets, resulting in 79 deaths. That’s compared with 16 accidents and 303 lives lost in 2016.
According to To70’s calculations, that’s a rate of one deadly accident for every 16 million flights, making 2017 the safest year in aviation history–and making air travel the safest means of transport, said To70 researcher Adrian Young, even as worldwide air traffic grew by 3% in 2017 over 2016.
Still, even as it credited advances in global air safety, To70 warned that airlines must stay vigilant, particularly in light of the human element (specifically pilot fatigue and mental health concerns). The researchers noted nonfatal accidents like the Air France flight that had to make an emergency landing in Newfoundland, Canada, in September when its engines failed.
While To70 said that the “extraordinarily” low accident rate must be seen as “good fortune,” President Trump has already claimed the victory as his own: he has been “very strict on Commercial Aviation,” he wrote in a tweet about the report this morning.
Since taking office I have been very strict on Commercial Aviation. Good news – it was just reported that there were Zero deaths in 2017, the best and safest year on record!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 2, 2018
But he did not say what he had done to improve airline safety; his biggest effort–privatizing air-traffic control–is stuck in Congress. Meanwhile, the Federal Aviation Administration is run by Michael Huerta, who was appointed by former President Barack Obama. Huerta’s five-year term expires on Jan. 6. The U.S.’s safety record predates Trump, too. As the Associated Press noted, “the last commercial airline fatalities in the U.S. happened in July 2013. Three passengers were killed when Asiana Airlines Flight 214 crashed while landing at San Francisco International Airport.”
Twitter users—including actor Bryan Cranston—responded to Trump’s suggestion with disbelief and, well, gratitude.
“Very strict on Commercial Aviation.”
What does this even mean? What, if anything, has he done?There hasn’t been a deadly scheduled airline crash in the US since 2009. The 2017 news is a global achievement. https://t.co/phS2xs86hC
— Jason Rabinowitz (@AirlineFlyer) January 2, 2018
Is he saying that he IMPOSED government regulation on an industry and it MADE THAT INDUSTRY SAFER?
Because it sounds a lot like that’s what he’s saying. https://t.co/YETNBFJasS
— Stonekettle (@Stonekettle) January 2, 2018
Thank you @realDonaldTrump for preventing US commercial airlines from crashing in 2017. Your active participation monitoring the flight patterns and safety regulations was greatly appreciated. In 2018 could you please turn your efforts toward preventing wildfires and hurricanes? https://t.co/yYq49PzZpX
— Bryan Cranston (@BryanCranston) January 2, 2018
since donald trump has taken office he has been very strict on Slippery Ice—it was just reported that i have not fallen once this winter, the best on record!
— Ashley Feinberg (@ashleyfeinberg) January 2, 2018