THE crash of AirAsia Flight 8501 has prompted comparisons with the unsolved case of the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, which dominated much of the news at the beginning of the year.
But if 2014 is judged in terms of the total number of fatal accidents, it was the actually the safest year on record. "2014 is - by numbers - the safest year in modern aviation history," Harro Ratner, CEO of the Aviation Safety Network, told Epoch Times.
"Even if we assume with the AirAsia crash, the number of fatal passenger flight accidents is still the lowest ever - eight as opposed to eleven in 2012, which was the lowest number until now," he said.
It is also worth noting that there are more planes in the sky than ever before. According to The World Bank, 743,096,000 flight tickets were sold in the US last year, for example, compared with 295,329,088 in 1980. In Britain, 25,551,200 passengers flew in 1980, compared to 118,304,674 in 2013.
According to Flightglobal, in 2013 there was one fatal accident per 1.9 million flights. "Based on this metric, airline operations are now almost three times safer than they were 20 years ago," it said.
Of course, these were hardly the only aviation disasters of 2014, noted London's Daily Telegraph. An Algerian Air Force Hercules carrying 74 military passengers and four crew crashed into the Djebel Fertas mountain in April.
A second military plane, a Ukrainian army transport plane was shot down on its approach to the Luhansk Airport in eastern Ukraine, killing all 49 people aboard in June at a time when Ukrainian and Russian forces were engaged.
A month later another crash was blamed on pro-Russia separatists, when Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur was shot down over Ukraine, killing 298 people and prompting an international outcry, with the West accusing Russia of complicity.
Things got worse in July when a military helicopter crashed close to the Vietnamese capital of Hanoi, killing 16 people. One week later, five were killed when a Cambodian military helicopter crashed during a training flight near Phnom Penh.
Later that month, Taiwan's TransAsia Airways Flight 222 crashed in bad weather en route from Kaohsiung to Penghu island. Of the 58 people aboard, only 10 survived and the next day an Air Algerie flight crashed in Mali killing all 116 people in bad weather.
In August, Iran's Sepahan Airlines Flight 5915 crashed shortly after take-off. Those on board survived the crash but 39 of the 48 passengers and crew died in the ensuing fire.
According to the website planecrashinfo.com, 1,021 aviation deaths have been registered in 2014, including military crashes with 10 or more fatalities. That figure is rise to 1,183, following the crash of AirAsia Flight QZ8501, which would make 2014 one of the most tragic years in recent aviation history.
Not since 1998 have more people died in plane crashes, according to the Aviation Safety Network. That year there were 1,242 fatalities, including a Cebu Pacific Air crash that killed 104, a China Airlines disaster that saw 203 deaths, and a Swissair accident in which 229 died.
But 2014 is still some way from being the deadliest year ever. Several years in the 1990s saw even more fatalities. There were 1,845 in 1996, for example, including 349 in the world's deadliest ever mid-air collision.
Source : HKSG.