President Trump seems to be implying that him being strict on commercial aviation led to 2017 having been "the best and safest year on record". When reading carefully, he does not claim that outright; it's merely a juxtaposition of two claims.

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

Donald J. Trump, 3:13 pm · 2 Jan 2018

I've asked about the first part; how about the second part?

Has 2017 been the safest year on record for commercial aviation up until then?


1 Answer 1


The answer is Yes, according to the Dutch aviation consult group t070 and the Aviation Safety Network but this statement excludes deaths involving military and cargo airline crashes and accidents involving smaller, propeller-powered aircraft.

Dutch aviation consult group t070 and the Aviation Safety Network found no fatalities because of accidents involving large commercial jets most popular with civilian passengers. Source: National post

The further breakdown of T070's report is given below.

Our to70 Civil Aviation Safety Review examines accidents only to larger passenger aircraft commonly used by most travellers. (See our criteria in the Note below.) We include all causes, whether technical failure, human error or unlawful interference. In 2016, there were 71 civil aviation accidents of which six resulted in fatalities. This year, 2017, the number is even lower; 111 accidents, three of which included fatalities. There were no accidents in 2017 related to unlawful interference. A total of 14 lives lost in three regional airline accidents... Source: TO70’S CIVIL AVIATION SAFETY REVIEW 2017

The Aviation Safety Network data for 2017 airliner accident statistics also shows that 2017 was the safest year ever for commercial aviation as described below.

Over the year 2017 the Aviation Safety Network recorded a total of 10 fatal airliner accidents [1], resulting in 44 occupant fatalities and 35 persons on the ground. This makes 2017 the safest year ever, both by the number of fatal accidents as well as in terms of fatalities. In 2016 ASN recorded 16 accidents and 303 lives lost. Source: Aviation Safety Network news

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    Most of the quoted T070 report seems to be about civil aviation, but Trumps tweet is about commercial aviation (otherwise, the "zero deaths" figure would also be wrong). Is there evidence in that report that commercial aviation was less safe in past years? It's also a bit unclear to me why the ASN report lists a number of fatalities, while the T070 report doesn't. As-is, it seems that there are two conflicting reports, with the first supporting the second part of Trumps claim, but rejecting the first part, and the second report supporting the first part of the claim, but rejecting the second.
    – tim
    Commented Jan 14, 2018 at 15:47
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    @Tim-"But the streak long predates Trump’s administration. The last commercial jet accident on U.S. soil that resulted in any passenger fatalities was in 2013, when an Asiana Airlines plane went down in San Francisco, said Harro Ranter, head of the Aviation Safety Network. And the last time a crash by a U.S. airline resulted in any passenger deaths was in 2009, when a Colgan Air flight crashed en route to Buffalo, N.Y., said aviation expert Barry Schiff."-latimes.com/business/la-fi-aviation-safety-20180102-story.html Commented Jan 14, 2018 at 15:56
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    @gerrit from the tweet in question, "Since taking office I have been very strict on Commercial Aviation" That sounds like he IS taking credit, even though there is no support for Trump to say he's been "very strict on Commercial Aviation"...
    – JasonR
    Commented Jan 15, 2018 at 13:11
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    @gerrit read his tweet. He's clearly implying a post hoc ergo propter hoc correlation between "I was very strict on commercial aviation" and "2017 was the safest year on record" Commented Jan 15, 2018 at 14:19
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    What's the international scope of your sources? Looks to me like they're worldwide, not just US? (which would be fine for answering the question, just would look like even more of a stretch for the US president to take credit for a worldwide trend) Commented Jan 15, 2018 at 21:30

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