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MH370, MH17, Air Algéire 5017 and finally the disappearance of AirAsia Flight 8501 between Indonesia and Singapore on December 28 ends a unusual year for aviation.
Could 2014 be considered the worst year in recent aviation history? Yes and no, it depends on how we define “worst”. 2014: the fewest number of accidents (in the last 80 years) and the same number of catastrophes (deaths) since 2005.
According to the Bureau of Aircraft Accidents Archieves (BAAA), the Geneva-based department responsible for recording air accidents, 2014 has been the year with the fewest accidents in the last 80 years.
With the disappearance of the AirAsia plane, now classified as an accident, in 2014 there were a total of 111, a figure that had not been seen since 1927.
PLANE ACCIDENTS PER YEAR
“If we take into account only the number of plane accidents, flying today is saferSays Kane Ray, an analyst with the Bureau of International Aviation, a global aviation consultancy. "However, there are more and more flights, so naturally, the total number of accidents may seem similar to that of other decades and even higher in terms of catastrophes"
AIRCRAFT CATASTROPHES 2014
As for catastrophes, the figures show a darker picture. Prior to the AirAsia flight QZ8501, air disasters in 2014 claimed the lives of 1,158 people.
The AirAsia flight was carrying 162 passengers, of which only 46 have been confirmed dead. Assuming that everyone on board had died in the accident, the figures would increase to 1,320, with 2014 being the year with the most victims since 2005, according to the BAAA. 2014 has ended a constantly improving aviation safety record.
DEATHS PER YEAR Source: edition.cnn.com/
“Every 10 years or so, there is always a year that is less safe than the previous ones. Unfortunately 2014 has been one of those, ”said Ronan Hubert of the BAAA.
In 2013, 265 people died in plane crashes, becoming safest year in aviation history since 1945, according to the Aviation Safety Network,
which registers the number of accidents differently from the BBA.
The first only records accidents involving aircraft with the capacity to carry 14 or more passengers, while the BAAA records accidents involving aircraft with a minimum capacity of 6 passengers, in addition to crew members.
Another key difference is that the Air Safety Network does not count the victims of Malasya Airlines Flight 17 since attacks or acts of sabotage are not within its safety indicators.
For its part, the BAAA statistics compute "any event in which an aircraft is disabled."
Asia he has been the victim of a particularly tragic year.
Malaysia Airlines had an excellent safety record, until 2014:
In March, Flight 370 disappeared from its Kuala Lumpur-Beijing route with 239 passengers on board. Authorities believe the plane is somewhere in the Indian Ocean, although 10 months later it is still missing.
In July, the flight 17 Malaysia Airlines was shot down in eastern Ukraine. The 298 people on board perished there.
Regarding AirAsia, even though it is based in Malaysia, the flight that disappeared on Sunday, December 28, 2014, was in charge of AirAsia Indonesia, an affiliate based in Jakarta and Surabaya. Until Tuesday, December 30, no remains of the plane were found. It was then that fear began to reign over the disappearance of two flights in the same year and in the same place. "This is my worst nightmare," CEO Tony Fernandes said via Twitter when rescue groups were looking for the flight AirAsia QZ8501.
On Tuesday, December 30, search teams found remains of the AirAsia flight in the Java Sea. Before the event, AirAsia's safety record was near perfect, with no prior fatal accidents.
Two other disasters that occurred in July took the lives of dozens of people. In Taiwan, 48 people died in the TransAsia Airways Flight 222, although the cause of the accident remains unknown.
For his part, AirAlgérie Flight 5017 killed 116 people on its Burkina Faso-Algeria route. The plane went down in Mali. In this case, the cause of the accident is also unknown, although it is known that the plane changed its route due to bad weather.
Despite all this, the number of fatalities in air crashes is still much lower than in traffic accidents.
Last year, the World Health Organization stated that each year about 1.24 million people die on the roads, while the year with the most deaths in the history of the aviation was 1972, with a total of 3,346 victims as reported by the BAAA.
According to Hubert, since then, technology has improved and airlines, insurance companies and regulators have worried about having aviation safety levels close to zero. It also stated that “Accidents cannot always be avoided, but with each one of them we learn something and this helps us improve ".
According to the International Civil Aviation Organization, the number of commercial flights has increased in recent years, reaching 30 million in 2011. Despite the air disasters that took place in 2014, Goelz claimed that "It is a relatively low rate considering the massive number of people currently flying".