Once you’ve survived the taxi trip to the airport, you’re in safe hands

The year 2011 has been declared one of the safest to date for air travel. While the number of fatal airline accidents rose from 26 in 2010 to 32 in 2011, there was a “relatively low” number of fatalities, according to Flightglobal’s annual airline safety review.

Just over 500 people, including airline crew, died in airline accidents in 2011  the second-lowest figure in a decade. The majority of aircraft involved in fatal crashes were small and regional, mostly turbo props, keeping the number of casualties per incident low.

There were nine fatal jet accidents but two of these were freighters and two were of regional jet size, “leaving only five aircraft that could reasonably be categorised as passenger big jets”. All five of these large jets were old.

“It was a good year from the point of view of both safety and insurance,” says Flightglobal’s data and consultancy division, Ascend.

The worst two accidents of the year were an Iran Air domestic flight that crashed killing 77 of the 105 people on board and a Boeing 727 crash in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. It also claimed 77 lives.

This article is an excerpt from Jane E. Fraser’s weekly travel column in The Sun Herald, Sydney.

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