Global Aerospace Editorial Team, March 21, 2024
Aviation Safety

Aviation around the world is experiencing a period of unprecedented safety. In the US alone, there has not been a mass-casualty plane crash since 2009. That statistic is even more impressive given that there have been many incidents in the last 15 years that could have resulted in significant injuries and loss of life.

Airport worker completes an aircraft safety check in hangar

In the first week of January 2024, two potentially catastrophic events occurred. On January 2, an airliner and a twin turboprop collided on a runway at Haneda Airport in Tokyo. Tragically, five of the six crew on the turboprop died in the accident.

Fortunately, all 367 passengers and 12 crew on the airliner survived, thanks to several factors. One was the rigorous crew training that enabled a rapid, well-coordinated aircraft evacuation. Passengers refrained from panicking, followed instructions to leave their belongings behind and exited in an orderly fashion. Industry insiders are suggesting the aircraft’s advanced design and materials, which allowed more time for evacuation, also helped prevent a catastrophe.

Three days later, on January 5, an airliner lost a “door plug” panel in flight and depressurized. All 171 passengers and six crew members survived, and the plane safely returned to the airport and landed within 20 minutes. It is fortunate that no one was seated near the door plug panel, of course, but the crew’s professionalism in the face of significant mechanical failure helped prevent a worse outcome.

From Unruly Passengers to Alarming Near Misses

Aviation has also recently experienced a spike in incidents of dangerous passenger behavior. These unruly flyers have been subdued before they could complete acts like opening doors on airborne aircraft and risking the lives of everyone onboard. Rapid and appropriate responses from well-trained flight crews—often with assistance from other passengers—have been all that stood between these bad actors and potentially deadly…