With the AirAsia disappearance now counted as a crash, this year’s number totals 111.
The last time the world had 111 crashes was in 1927.
“If you consider sheer numbers of aircraft crashes, flying today is safer,” says Kane Ray, an analyst with the International Bureau of Aviation, a global aviation consulting group.
“However, there are more aircraft in the sky, so naturally the overall number may appear similar to previous decades and, in some categories of disaster, higher.”
By contrast, the deadliest year in aviation had 3,346 deaths, the BAAA said. That was in 1972.
Since then, technology has improved and airlines, insurance companies and regulators have worked to increase aviation safety levels to get closer to zero risk, said Hubert.
“Accidents are not always avoidable,” he said, but “with each accident, we learn something new and improve.”
According to the International Civil Aviation Organization, the number of commercial flight departures has grown in recent years to 30 million in 2011.
Despite the fatalities from this year, Goelz said, “that’s a relatively low rate when you compare it to the massive numbers of people who are flying today.”