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Pilots respond positively to 2017 air safety statistics

Pilots have welcomed reports that 2017 was the safest year in history for commercial airlines and say they will continue to do all they can to ensure flight safety.

Two separate pieces of research by Dutch consultancy To70 and the Aviation Safety Network, found that there were no passenger jet crashes anywhere in the world in 2017.

The British Airline Pilots’ Association (BALPA) says this is good news, but urged the aviation industry to remain vigilant to the safety risks which these figures might mask.

BALPA pointed out that by focusing on a lack of fatalities we may fail to note the serious incidents and possible trends that could have had devastating outcomes were it not for the training, dedication and professionalism of pilots.

In particular, pilots have highlighted fatigue as the biggest threat to flight safety. There is also concern about the threat posed by modern technology such as lithium batteries, drones and lasers.

Steve Landells, BALPA Flight Safety Specialist, said:

“These early figures are great news and we hope these findings are an indication of what we can expect in the accidents statistics that will be released by IATA later this year.

“Pilots work day-in, day-out to ensure flight safety. But it’s important we don’t allow these good figures to breed complacency.

“Pilots have told BALPA that they are being pushed to their limits and have highlighted fatigue as a huge challenge for aviation. No one wants tired pilots on the flight deck and BALPA is working with regulators and airlines to create an industry-wide culture that understands and prioritises fatigue.

“We are also seeing a rise in the use of modern technology such as lithium batteries, drones and lasers and it is important that we ensure their use does not have a negative impact on flight safety.

“BALPA is working with the Government to ensure it acts on its commitment to bring in regulations to tackle the rise in near misses with drones and the rise in attacks on aircraft by lasers swiftly in 2018.”