With so much air travel to and fro this really is a big accomplishment: It’s been four years since the last deadly airline crash in the U.S. According to The New York Times, last year was the safest since 1945, “with 23 deadly accidents and 475 fatalities.” The article goes on to say that, with advances in technology and communication among airline workers, not only are there fewer incidents, but a greater chance that passengers will survive if there is one.
The last crash was in 2009 near Buffalo in which a small plane went down, killing 50 people. The last crash involving a major airline was the crash of an American Airlines flight in Queens that was bound for the Dominican Republic. All 260 passengers died.
Legislative struggles to improve safety even further (to increase co-pilot training) are still being fought on Capitol Hill. Airline lobbyists have been pushing against the effort.
In related travel news, the merger between American Airlines and US Airways (did you know this was happening?) are on hold while the compensation for American’s CEO Tom Horton is settled. An announcement could be made on Thursday, says The Miami Herald. One opinion article in USA Today makes the case that this will diminish competition, leading to higher fares for travelers. A separate op-ed in the paper says competition would be maintained with airlines like Southwest and though fares are already on the upward trend — up 8.5 percent in 2011, 4.5 percent last year — airlines still have problems with customer service and in other areas.
“Strapped for cash and often laden with debt, the airlines have struggled to maintain customer service and to raise the money needed to purchase or lease aircraft,” the article says. “An American-US Airways merger would not solve all these problems. But it can be the last leg in bringing the industry much-needed stability.”
Do you think the travel industry is looking up, based on these two news items?