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The year in aviation: Billions of passengers, two high-profile accidents

December 26, 2018 / John Cox

2018 was an average year for air safety based on the number of accidents for cargo and passenger operators. Let’s put it into a little broader perspective. Airlines flew nearly 4.5 billion passengers on nearly 45 million flights worldwide. Those are both record-breaking figures. But sadly, there were 15 accidents worldwide according to the Aviation Safety Network. Two of them were widely reported: the engine failure and cowling separation on Southwest Flight 1380 near Philadelphia, and the crash of Lion Air Flight 610 near Jakarta, Indonesia. The engine failure on the Southwest flight caused inspections on all similar engines to ensure that no similar cracks existed in other engine fan blades. Additionally, regulators are looking at how the cowling departed the airplane, striking the wing and fuselage. They are reviewing certification standards and the life limits for engine components. While today’s engines are incredibly reliable, a tragedy such as the loss of a life on Southwest 1380 causes a thorough review.