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Studies: 2017 Was Safest for Air Travel Industry


FILE - A Ryanair air steward demonstrates safety procedures before take-off at Dublin airport in Dublin, Ireland, Sept. 27, 2017.

2017 was the safest year on record for the commercial airline industry, two new reports said.

No major airline experienced a plane crash anywhere in the world, the Dutch aviation consultancy To70 reported Monday.

"2017 was much better than could reasonably [and statistically] be expected, and was again better than last year's remarkable performance," said To70 researcher Adrian Young.

Young said air travel is the safest way to travel, with an estimated fatal accident rate for large commercial passenger flights of 0.06 per million flights, or one fatal accident for every 16 million flights — even as global air traffic in 2017 grew by 3 percent over the previous year.

Accidents involving military planes, cargo flights and small turboprop planes were not part of the study.

A second report by the Aviation Safety Network said 10 civil passenger and cargo plane crashes killed 44 people last year.

Experts cited improved technology and safety systems aboard passenger jets, which they noted have just about eliminated midair collisions and crashes into mountains.

The network's study also said engineers and crews were spotting more safety problems before planes take off.

President Donald Trump appeared to take credit Tuesday for 2017 being fatality-free for commercial flights:

But The Associated Press pointed out there were no new major airline safety regulations introduced by the Trump administration in 2017.

It also said the White House had dragged its feet on implementing an Obama administration proposal to ban rechargeable lithium batteries from passenger planes. Tests have shown the batteries can explode and start fires.

The president's plan to privatize the nation's air traffic control system has also not moved forward.

But a White House spokesman said Tuesday that the president had "raised the bar for our nation's aviation safety and security."

The U.S. National Transportation Safety Board said the last deadly passenger airline crash in the U.S. occurred in 2009, and the last fatal commuter plane crash was in Hawaii in 2013.

Airplane crash statistics were first compiled in 1946.

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