- President Trump said he’s been ‘very strict’ on commercial aviation, taking credit for there being ‘zero deaths’ on passenger jets in 2017
- The president was likely referring to a new study out from Dutch aviation group to70 and the Aviation Safety Network that reported no deaths
- However, his comments come two days after a horrific plane crash in Costa Rica that killed 10 Americans on New Year’s Eve
- The plane’s small size would have excluded it from this particular aviation study and likely the fact that it was being operated as a private flight
- A spokesman for the president said Trump had ‘raised the bar for our nation’s aviation safety and security’
- He cited the president’s support of an air traffic control overhaul bill, which hasn’t been passed, and enhanced DHS security measures
On Tuesday, President Trump took credit for 2017 being the safest year in commercial aviation, with the Dutch aviation group to70 reporting that there were zero deaths in passenger jet travel.
‘Since taking office I have been very strict on Commercial Aviation,’ Trump tweeted Tuesday morning. ‘Good news – it was just reported that there were Zero deaths in 2017, the best and safest year on record!’
While Trump’s reading of the report was correct, the tweet was ill-timed as family members and friends mourn the deaths of 10 Americans killed in a New Year’s Eve plane crash in Costa Rica.
On Sunday, two American families, their Wisconsin-born tour guide and two local pilots were killed when their Cessna 208B Grand Caravan Nature Air charter jet went down in a wooded area of the Guanacaste Mountains.
Witnesses said the airplane seemed to ‘cartwheel’ before it crashed just a minute after takeoff from the Punta Islita airport.
High winds are potentially being blamed for the crash of the charter plane, a private aircraft owned by Nature Air airlines, Costa Rica’s largest domestic airline.
The size of the aircraft would exclude the New Year’s Eve accident from to70’s study, likely along with the private nature of the flight.
‘Our analysis documents accidents to passenger flights commercial air transport operations in aeroplanes with a maximum take-off mass of 5700 kg or above,’ the study’s note on methodology said. ‘This excludes a number of small commuter aeropoanes in service around the world, including the Cessna Caravan.’
The Cessna Caravan was the type of plane involved in the Costa Rica crash.
Additionally, ‘Accidents to military flights, training flights, private flights, cargo operations and helicopters are excluded,’ the study’s methodology said.
Overall, the to70 study found that there were 111 accidents involving larger passenger aircraft, two of which included fatalities. There were also 13 lives lost in two regional airline accidents.
‘An estimated three percent growth in air traffic for 2017 over 2016 means that the fatal accident rate for large aeroplane in commercial air transport is again reduced; this time to 0.06 fatal accidents per million flights,’ the study said. ‘That is a rate of one fatal accident for every 16 million flights.’
As for Trump’s boast that he’s been ‘very strict’ on commercial aviation, White House Deputy Press Secretary Raj Shah explained that the president ‘raised the bar for our nation’s aviation safety and security.’
In October, the president announced that he was backing the Aviation Innovation, Reform, and Reauthorization Act, which – among other things – would privatize the nation’s air traffic control system.
The bill passed committee last June, but never saw a floor vote in 2017.
‘Last year, the President announced his initiative to modernize Air Traffic Control and under his leadership, the Department of Homeland Security released enhanced security measures to ensure safer commercial air travel,’ Shah said in a statement.
Beyond that, the Trump administration spent most of the president’s first year in office fighting in court over his controversial travel ban, which would limit travel into the United States from a number of Muslim-majority countries.
‘The President is pleased there were no commercial airline deaths in 2017, and hopes this remains consistent in 2018 and beyond,’ Shah said.
Source: Daily Mail UK
Featured Image: AP Photo/File