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Passengers Find Good News in 2012 Numbers

March 8, 2013

© Houston Airport System
The final numbers from 2012 were impressive in several different areas, including overall safety, baggage efficiency and the minimization of flight delays.
2012 proved to be a good year for air travel, as passengers around the world enjoyed a record low in the number of aviation-related accidents.

Passengers in the United States also enjoyed record lows in the number of aircraft tarmac delays and cases of mishandled luggage.

According to the Aviation Safety Network, 2012 was the safest year for air travel since 1945, with the death risk in the United States standing at one in 45 million flights.

Researchers at M.I.T. say what this statistic means is that a traveler could fly every day for an average of 123,000 years before being involved in a fatal crash.

Researchers cite several different reasons for the record increase in aviation safety, including advances in navigation and warning technology and improved aircraft equipment designed specifically to protect passengers and crew members.

More good news came from 2012 in the number of tarmac delays lasting three hours or longer. In 2011, the federal government put stiff measures in place to begin curbing the practice and statistics show that the regulations are definitely having an impact.

Between May 2009 and April 2010, carriers operating in the United States had 693 tarmac delays of more than three hours. In 2012, that number dropped down to just 42. Passengers also found good news in the area of efficient baggage handling, with the nation’s 15 largest airlines reporting their lowest rate of mishandled baggage since 1987, when such records were first kept.

Overall there were 3.09 reports of mishandled bags per 1,000 passengers, down from 3.35 in 2011.

"This remarkable decrease in flight delays, tarmac incidents, cancellations and mishandled bags is a tribute both to the hard work of the airlines and the Department of Transportation's oversight of the aviation industry," Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said in a written statement. "We will continue to work with the carriers to make air travel more convenient and hassle-free for consumers."
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