While we are watching TV where French teams are trying to recover bodies and black boxes, it is good time to remind how safe the air travel is despite the high profile accidents over the past 13 months.
If you had the same accident rate as in 1973 and take into account the increase in air traffic, we would have a fatal crash every other day.
There is a good write up about this on WSJ that you can access here of which below is an excerpt:
Tuesday’s crash is “a highly unusual accident, given the current state of aviation safety, and more so in Western Europe,” said Harro Ranter, chief executive of the Aviation Safety Network, an industry group.
It wasn’t yet clear what caused the Airbus A320, en route from Barcelona to Düsseldorf, to fall from the sky over mountains in Southern France.
The crowded airspace of Western Europe, like that of North America, has experienced a steady decline in fatal aviation accidents in recent years. The accident rate in Europe last year was 0.15 jet aircraft lost for every one million flights, compared with an average of 0.24 per million flights from 2009 to 2013, according to the International Air Transport Association, which represents more than 200 airlines.
The Germanwings crash is the first major air disaster on French soil since July 2000, when an Air France Concorde supersonic jetliner struck debris on the runway on takeoff from Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport, causing it to crash into a nearby hotel and killing 113, including four on the ground.
Bloomberg News had interesting graphic showing how many Airbus A320 are in use today and their average age. There should be A320 taking off or landing every two seconds.
Air travel is very safe but you cannot make anything 100% fool proof. There is always possible human factor (mistakes etc.) that can lead to these disasters.
I am sure that the team investigating this accident can come to conclusion what happened after they analyze the data and audio on the black boxes (they have recovered one at the time of writing this) that will help to make the air travel even safer in the future.