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Donald Trump wrongly claims credit for airline safety: Here are the facts

WASHINGTON: A Dutch consulting firm released a report of late underlining 2017 as the safest year for commercial passengers air travel, but for the United States, its President Donald Trump was quick to boast that he made sure safety of passengers with his special measures for commercial aviation. Is it really true? Well….not!

The facts tell a different story. Global and U.S. commercial aviation deaths have been trending downward for more than a decade due to a variety of factors.

Dutch aviation consulting firm To70 and the Aviation Safety Network both reported Monday there were no commercial passenger jet fatalities in 2017. “2017 was the safest year for aviation ever,” said Adrian Young of To70.

To70 estimated that the fatal accident rate for large commercial passenger flights is 0.06 per million flights, or one fatal accident for every 16 million flights.

The Aviation Safety Network also reported there were no commercial passenger jet deaths in 2017, but 10 fatal airliner accidents resulting in 44 fatalities onboard and 35 persons on the ground, including cargo planes and commercial passenger turbo prop aircraft.

That figure includes 12 people killed on Dec. 31 when a Nature Air Cessna 208B Grand Caravan aircraft crashed minutes after takeoff into a mountainous area off the beach town of Punta Islita, Costa Rica.

In comparison, there were 16 accidents and 303 deaths in 2016 among airliners.

Here’s what Donald Trump said

Donald Trump aviation deaths tweet


Here are the facts

The Dutch aviation consultancy To70 and the Aviation Safety Network reported Monday that there were no commercial passenger jet deaths last year, although there were two fatal regional airline crashes involving small turboprop planes in Angola and Russia. There were also fatal accidents involving cargo airliners.

Much of the credit for reducing passenger airline deaths goes to aircraft safety systems that have virtually eliminated midair collisions between airliners and what is referred to in aviation as “controlled flight into terrain.” Usually that means flying a plane into the side of a mountain.

There have been other improvements as well, including airlines adopting safety programs designed to spot potential problems before an accident occurs rather than relying on learning lessons from analysis after a crash.

More insight into the facts

In the U.S., it has been 4½ years — Barack Obama was starting his second term as president — since the last deaths involving a scheduled passenger airline. Three passengers died after Asiana Airlines Flight 214 crashed while landing at San Francisco International Airport on July 6, 2013.

It’s been almost nine years since the last fatalities involving a U.S.-registered, scheduled passenger airline in the United States. That was Colgan Air Flight 3407, which crashed on approach to Buffalo on Feb. 12, 2009.

All 49 people on board and a man on the ground were killed. Colgan, now defunct, was a regional airline.

A tweet that trolled Trump

Trump aviation commercial deaths
A Twitter user shared a fact-check with a link from Forbes story. And this was retweeted by nearly 40,000 people — that is almost more than double the number of Donald Trump’s tweet was retweeted in first place.




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