Todd DeFeo

2014: Flying still safe, despite high-profile crashes

OKINAWA, Japan (March 9, 2014) A P-3C Orion patrol craft assigned to Patrol Squadron (VP) 46 departs from Kadena Air Base to aid in the search efforts of the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370. The P-3C brings long-range search, radar and communications capabilities to the efforts. The flight had 227 passengers from 14 nations, mainly China, and 12 crew members. According to the Malaysia Airlines website, three Americans, including one infant, were also aboard. (U.S. Navy photo/Released)

ORLANDO, Fla. — 2014 was marked by several high-profile airline crashes, but it still remains one of the safer years on record, according to a number of sources.

An estimated 992 people were killed in commercial airline crashes in 2014, including the July shoot-down of a passenger jet over eastern Ukraine and this month’s crash of an AirAsia flight. According to the International Air Transport Association (IATA), there were 210 fatalities in 2013, 414 in 2012 and 490 in 2011.

In the latest crash, AirAsia Flight QZ8501 crashed Dec. 28 into the waters off Borneo. The Airbus A320 was traveling from Surabaya, Indonesia, to Singapore when it crashed, killing all 155 passengers and seven crew members on board.

“It will probably come as a surprise to most people, but really it was a very safe year,” The Wall Street Journal quoted Paul Hayes, director of safety at Ascend, as saying.

Other high-profile crashes in 2014 include:

  • In July, Malaysia Airlines Flight MH-17 was shot down over eastern Ukraine, possibly by Russian forces. Russia denies any involvement.
  • In March, Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 disappeared over the Indian Ocean. The aircraft has not been located.

“It’s now time for a thorough investigation to begin,” Flight Safety Foundation President and CEO Jon Beatty said in a statement. “We are confident that answers will be found so that a tragedy like this won’t happen again.

“As the investigation is conducted, however, FSF calls for the speculation into the cause to end,” Beatty added. “This speculation does not advance our understanding of this tragedy and can cause needless pain for the families. FSF will continue to monitor the situation and trust that as the data is recovered, the answers will be found quickly.”

The precise number of fatalities depends on the source. According to the Bureau of Aircraft Accidents Archives, for example, there were 1,327 fatalities in all airplane crashes in 2014, the most since 1,463 in 2005.

About Todd DeFeo
Todd DeFeo loves to travel anywhere, anytime, taking pictures and notes. An award-winning reporter, Todd revels in the experience and the fact that every place has a story to tell. He is owner of The DeFeo Groupe and also edits Express Telegraph and Railfanning.org.