2017 was the safest year in the history of commercial air travel, according to The Aviation Safety Network. There were no crashes involving large passenger airliners anywhere in the world despite the volume of air traffic reaching its highest point ever. Excluding acts of suicide, sabotage and hijacking, 59 people were killed in 14 air accidents worldwide in 2017. That is a significant improvement on 2016's 17 accidents and 258 fatalities.
The deadliest incident last year occurred in January when a Turkish cargo jet smashed into a village in Kyrgyzstan as it tried to land at a nearby airport in dense fog, killing 35 on the ground and all four onboard.
These numbers mean that the rate of fatal accidents in commercial flights in large airplanes is one per 16 million flights, according to To70. The consulting group adds that "there were no accidents in 2017 related to unlawful interference."
As the aviation industry celebrated this milestone, President Donald Trump took to Twitter, presumably during or after a cable news report on the data, and claimed credit for this feat.
"Since taking office I have been very strict on Commercial Aviation," Trump said in a tweet Tuesday morning. "Good news – it was just reported that there were zero deaths in 2017, the best and safest year on record."https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/948195478428102657
It's not clear that there is any relationship between Trump's policies and the global trend of decreasing airline fatalities. As The Associated Press wrote, "the last commercial airline fatalities in the U.S. happened in July 2013. Three passengers were killed when Asiana Airlines Flight 214 crashed while landing at San Francisco International Airport."
The president has also been a staunch supporter of ATC privatization, of which opponents have argued the transition of the nation’s air traffic control system from the FAA to a nonprofit corporate entity will take several years and cost billions of dollars, upending progress made on modernization.