WASHINGTON — Nearly 300 passengers perish when their plane is shot out of the sky. Airlines suspend flights to Israel's largest airport after rocket attacks. An airliner crashes during a storm, and yet another disappears. Aviation has suffered one of its worst weeks in memory, a cluster of disasters spanning three continents.
Industry analysts and safety experts shake their heads at the seeming randomness of the tragedies, saying they can find no common themes. Nor do they think the events indicate that flying is suddenly becoming less safe.
The global airline accident rate last year was 0.41 per every million flights, according the International Air Transport Association.
"One of things that makes me feel better when we look at these events is that if they all were the same type event or same root cause then you would say there's a systemic problem here, but each event is unique in its own way," said Jon Beatty, president and CEO of the Flight Safety Foundation, an airline industry-supported nonprofit in Alexandria, Va., that promotes global aviation safety.
But Beatty said he also finds the disaster cluster "a cold reminder" that airline accidents are likely to increase because the industry is growing, especially in developing countries.