As worlwide media provide extensive coverage of the fatal accident of the Germanwings flight that crashed into the French Alps killing 150 passengers and staff on board, it is important to understand the trendlines and not to be conditioned by the headlines: airplanes are still one of the safest means of transportation.
Evolution of Aircraft Fatal Accidents
Over the past 40 years, the trend is clearly decreasing.
Evolution of Annual Departures and Flight Hours
The total number of fatal accidents is falling within the context of a rapidly increasing number of hours that flights are airborne. That is a clear sign that flying has never been safer.
Casualties in Aircraft Crashes in 2014
The great majority of fatal accidents involved small planes flying internal routes in developing countries. The two major commercial airline accidents with more than 100 casualties that happened in 2014 were not caused by technical failures: in the skies over Ukraine a plane was shot down by a rocket and the Indonesian crash was due to a human mistake of the pilot.
Analyzing the trendlines, we can conclude that flying has never been safer.