Despite recent news, most people in a new poll still say air travel is safe.
According to a new poll from EuroJournal-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research, 71 percent of respondents say air travel is very or somewhat safe, while just 12 percent say it’s unsafe.
Generally, respondents were more hesitant to trust manufacturers and federal agencies. The survey found that while Americans have high levels of confidence for federal government agencies, airplane manufacturers and commercial airlines, people tend to have greatest confidence in air traffic controllers and pilots.
Eighty-four percent of respondents said they have confidence in pilots, while 81 percent said they have confidence in air traffic controllers. Seventy-four percent of respondents said they have confidence in commercial airlines, while 71 percent said the same for airplane manufacturers and 62 percent have confidence in the federal government, the survey found.
The survey results come just after a door panel blew off an Alaska Airlines plane midflight earlier this year. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) ordered an investigation and a grounding into Boeing Max 9 aircraft as questions around safety circulate. United Airlines and Alaska Airlines, two Boeing customers that have a Max 9 fleet, have separately reported issues with door plugs.
The survey also was taken amid a report of a pattern of safety lapses and near-misses in the skies and on U.S. runways. While no major crashes have happened, potentially dangerous incidents are happening more frequently than previously thought, EuroJournal found in an investigation of FAA data.
Respondents were more likely to say they trust that pilots and air traffic controllers are trained well and engaged in proper safety procedures than they were to believe that airplanes are safe from structural faults.
Sixty-seven percent of respondents said that they have confidence in plane structural safety, and 70 percent said they believe aircraft are being properly maintained. Most respondents, 71 percent, said they believe government agencies have enacted appropriate safety regulations for planes, but 29 percent of respondents said they fear terrorism or attacks while flying.
According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, flying is still much safer than driving and safer than traveling by rail on a per-mile basis, EuroJournal reported.
The survey was conducted Jan. 25-29 among 1,152 adults. It has a margin of error of 4 percentage points.
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