Recent airline crashes run against trend toward safer flying

FILE - This March 27, 2019, file photo shows a Boeing 737 MAX 8 airplane on the assembly line during a brief media tour of Boeing's 737 assembly facility in Renton, Wash. Recent crashes have caused an uptick in airline fatalities in 2018 and 2019 after a long trend of safer flying. Boeing 737 Max accidents have raised concern over the ability of all pilots to handle automation. Still, aviation deaths are down sharply from the 1990s, and experts credit advances in aircraft and airport design, better air traffic control, and more pilot training.

After a long trend toward greater safety in air travel, there has been an uptick in airline accidents and deaths in 2018 and 2019.

Many aviation experts regard that recent increase as a statistical blip, however. They note that accidents and deaths remain a fraction of the numbers from as recently as the 1990s. They credit advances in aircraft and airport design, better air traffic control, and improved pilot training.

The most recent deadly crash occurred Sunday in Moscow, when an Aeroflot plane caught fire after a hard emergency landing.

That comes after two crashes involving Boeing 737 Max jets that killed 346 people in Indonesia and Ethiopia.

Russian media reports say the Aeroflot plane was hit by lightning, but experts say planes are designed to safely handle lightning strikes.

Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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