Airlines set another record as they flew about 4.5 billion passengers on nearly 45 million flights worldwide in 2018. However, there is a darker side as well. As per the Aviation Safety Network (ASN) there were 16 airliner accidents that killed a total of 555 people as of December 27, 2018. That’s more than 900 per cent increase over 2017 when just 59 people died in accidents. ASN had called 2017, as the ‘the safest year ever, both by the number of fatal accidents as well as in terms of fatalities.’
Airline safety nose-dived since 2017. In the past five years 555 deaths is the highest. In 2014, 692 airline related deaths were reported.
The 189 fatalities, on a brand-new Boeing 737 MAX, was the deadliest crash of 2018. It accounted for more than one-third of airline deaths in 2018. Lion Air Flight 610 crashed near Jakarta, Indonesia on October 29, killing all on board.
Another notable disaster took place on February 11, when a domestic Russian passenger flight that took off from Moscow, crashed six minutes into its flight. All the 71 people – 67 passengers and four crew on board were killed.
On May 18, Cubana de Aviación 737-200 crashed after takeoff from José Martí International Airport in Havana, Cuba killing 112 of 113 passengers and the crew.
All the stakeholders – the aircraft industry, the airlines, and the government regulators must work together to ensure that the trend of disasters do not continue in 2019.