1997 was a significant year in the UK. Oasis became the biggest rock band in the world. New Labour took Office after 18 years of Conservative rule, and Cool Britannia was the buzz word on everybody’s lips.
Amazingly, Google was still more than a year away from being founded, which is hard to believe when you consider the influence it now has on our lives.
Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg was probably still playing with model aeroplanes, rather than spending a reported $700,000 a year on private jets to shuttle himself and his wife between Silicon Valley and their private island.
But whether you shudder at the thought of Tony and Cherie waving from the steps of Downing Street, or shed a tear at the loss of those more carefree ‘pre-smartphone’ days, one bit of good news we can all agree with is that hopping on a flight has never been safer.
A recent report published in Flight Global (carried out by Flight Ascend Consultancy) highlights the fact that 2016 was the third safest on record, the safest being 2015.
Just one fatal accident was recorded per 3.3 million flights, compared to one per 600,000 back in the 90s.
This is in keeping with a five year trend which has seen aviation fatalities staying consistently around one per 3 million.
This makes air travel three times safer than it was ten years ago and five times safer than the mid-90s.
However, the report also highlights a bit of a problem.
In spite of our amazing safety record a large quantity of people still express some fear of flying. In fact between 10% and 40% of us admit to disliking air travel, ranging from mild discomfort to outright terror.
People with a genuine phobia or air travel will always take to the road, in spite of the fact that it is an infinitely more dangerous mode of transport than air travel.
But flying is indeed the safest and most secure form of transport and with so much new technology paving the way for an even brighter future, we all expect this trend to continue.
Challenges remain. Can we continue to maintain such strong safety record as more and more people take to the skies?
Aerospace engineers will have to work ever harder to keep these figures on an even keel and prevent the misconception that air travel is becoming less safe.
Viral 24 hour media will continue to distort the perception of safety with sensationalist reporting.
But it’s worth remembering that no matter how much more widely reported accidents become, and no matter how many more flights are made each year, hoping on board an aeroplane is still one of the safest ways to travel.
And that’s before taking into account your diminished chances of sitting next to a well-oiled Liam Gallagher these days!
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