Are Airlines Safe

There are two basic types of aviation, military and civil. The military flies dangerous missions, either testing new aircraft and equipment, training and testing new pilots, or flying into areas of political violence. Military aircraft are safe, but the accident and fatality rate is high due to the nature of their business. Civil aviation refers to all commercial and private planes, everything from ultralights up to Boeing 747’s or bigger. How good is airline safety in civil aviation?

Many worry about safety, especially in light of the recent disaster with Air France. It was a tragedy that is still unfolding with data missing on what has happened. Crashes seem to be reported more frequently and all around the world. Are the airlines becoming less safe, or are the accidents just becoming more publicized?

Planes are safer than cars! One site has it broken down by miles flown, number of passengers and then compares it to cars. You are six time more likely to die in a car accident than on a plane. You are also much more likely to get injured traveling to the plane than on it. If you factor in motorcycle deaths and injuries and the numbers skyrocket. So civilian airlines are safer than on buses.

Unfortunately, when an airline goes down, it isn’t just one or two people injured or dead, it is hundreds. It makes the news! Bad news sells and the more people involved the more it sells. This is a sad but true fact of journalism. So the media play up the acidents and that makes the airlines appear unsafe.

There is one website,, that “provides critical information for the traveling public”. It give fact and statistics in a clean, easy to understand fashion. It also answers the 10 most frequently asked questions about airline safety in civil aviation. Questions such as has the frequency of crashes risen in the past 5 years (It has, but that is only because the total number of flights has risen. If figured as a percentage of passengers and planes, it hasn’t).

If one is concerned about terrorism and its affects on airline safety, the numbers indicate you are more likely to be struck by lightning or eaten by a shark that encounter terrorism on a plane, unless you are a frequent flyer in the more volitile regions of the world, and even there the statistics aren’t bad.

Airline safety in civil aviation? Is it good, don’t worry about it and enjoy the flight.