There is really no need to fear flying. Why? As Pilot John Cox states in his Ask the Captain column in USA Today, “it is hard to say that flying is dangerous when viewing the remarkable record.” Consider these statistics.
According to the International Air Transport Association, in 2011, 2.8 billion people flew in 38 million airline flights. There were 11 hull loss accidents in Western-built jets, with 5 accidents involving fatalities. The fatality rate was 0.07 per million passengers. Of the 2.8 billion passengers, 486 were fatally injured on all types of aircraft (jet and turboprop). This was down from 786 in 2010. The last two years have been the safest years in aviation history. It is hard to say that flying is dangerous when viewing this remarkable record.
More good news. The on-time performance figures are in for January, showing US carriers’ on-time arrival performance improved 7.4% over the same month last year.
According to the US Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics, the 16 carriers reporting on-time performance data posted an overall on-time arrival rate of 83.7% in January, up from 76.3% in January 2011.
Hawaiian Airlines led all carriers in January with an on-time arrival rate of 93.1%. AirTran Airways followed at 87.8% and Southwest Airlines at 87.6%. The three worst performers were Frontier Airlines at 77.6%, and Alaska Airlines and ExpressJet Airlines, both at 79%.
Cancellations were down in January from a year ago, as carriers canceled 1.5% of their scheduled domestic flights, down from January 2011’s 3.9% cancellation rate. And DOT said airlines reported no tarmac delays of more than three hours on domestic flights or more than four hours on international flights in January [surprising what huge fines will do to improve performance].
Finally, here’s a little advice from an airline chef. Always eat the stew, and never eat the pasta. More on this next month.
In the meantime, when you’re ready to brave boarding an airplane, consider doing it with me on a Drifter Sister Catch the Wind Tour. Check out driftersister.com for details.