Despite the recent string of air disasters, flying is still said to be the safest way to travel. There are, after all, fewer than two accidents for every million flights. terms of the causes and consequences when things do go wrong, the increase in air traffic over recent decades – as well as in the size of planes – inevitably has to be considered.
In 1947, aeroplanes carried eight million passengers.Last year, nearly four billion took to the skies. Although there are 1,000 victims a year today, this figure is proportionately a lot less than 60 years ago. In 2020, when more than seven billion air passengers are predicted, the experts envisage one accident a week.
Safety standards on low-cost charter flights have once again come under scrutiny. Statistically, they are more accident-prone. Not surprisingly, the public is becoming more wary. Earlier this week in Greece over 100 French passengers refused to board an Alexandair charter flight because they didn’t think it was reliable.
“The air hostesses, who I got on well with, told me that even they were really scared,” said one passsenger.
“The plane was not authorized to fly by the Greek and French authorities,” said another.
“Based on that, you don’t really want to get on a plane that is forbidden from flying.”
So, are these companies more dangerous?.
The experts say No, on the face of it, because the norms of safety on the international level are the same for all.
In reality, however, it is down to individual nations to enforce these standards. It is clear that failings often come down to a lack of respect for these norms. Some have suggested a black list, to be made available to the public, which would list those not pulling their weight.
The idea is being widely circulated.
“We have enough information to do it but it needs the political will,” saidair safety expert Odile Saugues.
She believes that future safety norms need to be much stricter than those in force today – and that they need to be put into practice.
Such a list however would not really solve the problem and, as long as the International Civil Aviation Authority has no powers of prevention or punishment, certain low-cost companies can continue to do their shopping among planes destined for the scrapyard.