The president appears to have had little to no influence over airline safety in 2017.

By Aric Jenkins
January 02, 2018
Bruce Bennett / Staff

President Donald Trump took credit for a banner year in commercial air travel, in which zero deaths were recorded, according to multiple studies.

“Since taking office I have been very strict on Commercial Aviation,” Trump tweeted Tuesday morning. “Good news - it was just reported that there were Zero deaths in 2017, the best and safest year on record!”

But what did the president actually do?

Trump did not detail any specific measures he implemented to improve aviation safety. His biggest proposal for the industry — privatizing air traffic control — has yet to move through Congress. The idea has also been kicking around since well before his presidency. 

The current head of the Federal Aviation Administration — the U.S. government’s top agency for civil aviation — has been in office since January 2013, meaning Trump was not responsible for nominating a new leader to improve safety.

The major U.S.-based airlines in particular haven't suffered a fatal crash since Sept. 11, 2001, and all U.S. carriers in general have avoided fatalities since February 2009, according to CNN.

This week, Dutch consulting firm To70 and the Aviation Safety Network both reported that there were no commercial jet passenger deaths in 2017, making it the “safest year for aviation ever,” Adrian Young of To70 said, according to Reuters.

To70 estimated that the rate for fatal accidents on large commercial passenger flights is 0.06 per million flights, or approximately one fatal accident for every 16 million flights.

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