AP FACT CHECK: Trump can’t claim credit for zero jet deaths

Associated Press


There were no commercial passenger jet deaths anywhere in the world last year. It’s a remarkable record, but is it fair for President Donald Trump to claim some of the credit?

Not exactly. Global and U.S. commercial aviation deaths have been trending downward for more than a decade due to a variety of factors.

A look at commercial aviation’s safety record globally and in the U.S., as well as the president’s role:

TRUMP: “Since taking office I have been very strict on Commercial Aviation. Good news – it was just reported that there were Zero deaths in 2017, the best and safest year on record!”

THE FACTS: The Dutch aviation consultancy To70 and the Aviation Safety Network reported Monday that there were no commercial passenger jet deaths last year, although there were two fatal regional airline crashes involving small turboprop planes in Angola and Russia. There were also fatal accidents involving cargo airliners.

Much of the credit for reducing passenger airline deaths goes to aircraft safety systems that have virtually eliminated midair collisions between airliners and what is referred to in aviation as “controlled flight into terrain.” Usually that means flying a plane into the side of a mountain.

There have been other improvements as well, including airlines adopting safety programs designed to spot potential problems before an accident occurs rather than relying on learning lessons from analysis after a crash.

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