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Randy Tinseth

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Aviation Safety Is No Accident


With the final tally of orders and deliveries being released over the past few days, there’s a lot of talk about competition. But when it comes to safety, there is no competition. That’s because the entire industry shares the same goal—zero accidents.

You likely saw the news coverage coming out of Turkey this past weekend. While the images from alongside that runway were dramatic, it’s important to keep things in perspective.

2017 turned out to be the safest year ever for commercial aviation, reflecting a 20-year downward trend in airliner accidents. There were no commercial passenger jet accidents in 2017, according to the Aviation Safety Network (ASN).

However, when accounting for all types of airplanes, there were 10 fatal accidents last year, resulting in 44 occupant fatalities and 35 more on the ground. By comparison, ASN recorded 16 accidents and 303 lives lost in 2016.

While the 2017 results are much improved, there’s much more work to do. More airports are opening and more people are flying. Going forward, we have to be more focused on safety than ever.

The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) has adopted a process called the Safety Management System (SMS). All ICAO member states across the world are now implementing SMS across the spectrum of the aviation industry. SMS establishes a common aviation safety framework for all commercial aviation stakeholders, including Boeing.

Our goal with SMS is to positively impact the lifecycle of every airplane we deliver—from its design and build, to the support we offer in the aftermarket. Through continuous monitoring and regular checks of our safety systems and practices, we can proactively spot potential issues. We also incorporate employee training into our process.

“Boeing and the entire industry have done extremely well when it comes to safety. But we can’t let success lull us into complacency,” said Doug Biggs, the deputy chief engineer in our Airplane Safety Engineering group. “We must never take airplane safety for granted.”

Safety isn’t just something we talk about. It is part of our culture. We have a no tolerance goal when it comes to safety: ZERO incidents. And that will never change.

Boeing publishes a statistical summary of commercial jet accidents each year. The 2017 version will be out later this summer.

For more information on Boeing’s overall commitment to aviation safety, visit our webpage:


3 comment on “Aviation Safety Is No Accident

  • James Baloun
    January 18, 2018 | 3:53 pm

    Aviation safety has matured over the first 100 years and will only get better with diligent cooperation and new technology applied across the industry. Years of hard work have paid off and is very much appreciated.

    The challenge will be to take aviation safety with us into orbit. The first commercial space-flight systems are already benefiting from the foundation laid by aircraft safety.

  • Gareth
    January 18, 2018 | 6:28 pm

    Its an amazing industry when you consider how complex it is and the multitude of variables involved how the brilliant engineers have managed to build in so many fail safes / redundancies to make it so safe accross the world. Its why I find the industry so fascinating.

  • GSE Solutions
    October 9, 2018 | 3:00 am

    Well-written article, summarizing the complexity of the aviation infrastructure

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