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In flight of fancy, Trump takes credit for airline safety record

3 Jan 2018 by Robert Curley
Passing aircraft-contrails

U.S. President Donald Trump raised eyebrows — and hackles — by appearing to claim personal credit for the airline industry’s stellar safety record in 2017.

USA Today reported January 2, 2018 that an annual report found that there were no fatal crashes involving passenger aircraft in the U.S. last year. To see our story on this, see

2017 was the safest year ever for air travel

The USA Today report apparently promoted Trump to post to his Twitter account: “Since taking office I have been very strict on Commercial Aviation. Good news – it was just reported that there were Zero deaths in 2017, the best and safest year on record!”

In fact, there have been no fatal passenger airline crashes in the U.S. since 2009 — long before Trump became president. Two pilots died in a May 2017 crash of a cargo plane in West Virginia, however — an incident that falls under the category of “commercial aviation” and makes Trump’s statement not only boastful, but incorrect.

Industry experts said that credit for improvements in airline safety should go to improvements in training, technology, and management.

“This has been a long-time process,” said Seth Young, director of the Center for Aviation Studies at Ohio State University. “I don’t think we can point to anything that we did in 2017 that resulted in zero fatals in United States airlines. But 2017 was evidence of a solid decade of improvements.”

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