AP-NORC Poll: Most Americans say air travel is safe despite recent scares


By DAVID KOENIG and LINLEY SANDERS

Most U.S. adults consider that air journey is usually secure within the U.S., regardless of some doubts about whether or not plane are being correctly maintained and stay free from structural issues.

About 7 in 10 U.S. adults say planes are a “very” or “considerably” secure technique of journey, in line with a brand new ballot from The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research. Even with that prime degree of belief, solely about 2 in 10 U.S. adults have “an awesome deal” of confidence that airplanes are being correctly maintained, or that they’re secure from structural faults. One other half have a “reasonable” quantity of religion that that is the case.

The ballot was carried out after a Jan. 5 accident wherein a panel blew off an Alaska Airways Boeing 737 Max 9 jetliner 16,000 toes (4,900 meters) above Oregon, leaving a gaping gap within the aspect of the aircraft. That led to the grounding of greater than 140 planes and raised questions on Boeing’s ongoing manufacturing issues in addition to the Federal Aviation Administration’s skill to handle them.

U.S. adults are extra assured in airline pilots’ and air visitors controllers’ skill to keep up air security than they’re within the industrial airways, airplane producers or federal authorities businesses charged with it. A majority have a minimum of a “reasonable” quantity of confidence that every is making certain security.

Some with fears of flying expressed much more concern due to the Alaska Airways incident.

“I don’t get pleasure from flying. It’s so unnatural — we’re in a steel tube flying by the air,” stated Margaret Burke of Pensacola, Florida, who learn accounts of the jetliner incident, which resulted in no severe accidents. “The truth that folks do fly safely each day appears, to me, like a miracle.”

Regardless of her concern, Burke will board a aircraft for a visit to California this spring due to the pace and comfort that air journey presents.

“I’ve a 3-year-old, and I can’t put him in a automobile seat for 3 days straight, that’s simply unfair,” she stated.

Even with upkeep issues, U.S. adults have a better degree of certainty that airline pilots and air visitors controllers are well-trained and engaged in correct security procedures. Barely fewer than half — 45% — have “an awesome deal” of confidence in pilots’ coaching, whereas 38% say that about air visitors controllers.

About one-quarter of U.S. adults have a excessive degree of confidence that air journey is secure from terrorist assaults, or that authorities businesses have enacted mandatory security rules. Even with the variation, a majority of U.S. adults have a minimum of “a reasonable quantity” of confidence that planes are secure, pilots are well-trained and the rules are applicable.

Which may be as a result of flying continues to be a lot safer than driving and likewise safer than rail journey on a per-mile foundation, in line with U.S. Department of Transportation figures.

Airline officers and aviation regulators prefer to level out that there has not been a deadly crash of a U.S. airliner since 2009, though in 2018 a passenger died on a Southwest flight after an engine explosion and previously yr there was a pointy improve in shut calls being investigated by federal officers.

Sherry Kohn, a retired English literature instructor in Pennsylvania, thinks that flying is usually secure — “I’d get on a aircraft” — however she is amongst those that are solely reasonably assured that planes are manufactured safely.

“No one goes to place one thing out that’s going to kill folks, I don’t suppose,” she stated, “however Boeing has had a historical past of issues.”

Kohn additionally worries about upkeep.

“They recycle these planes so rapidly,” she stated. “It lands, any individual goes in and vacuums. I don’t know that they’re checking (the planes) as fastidiously as they need to.”

About one-quarter of U.S. adults say they journey by aircraft a minimum of a number of occasions a yr when touring lengthy distances.

These frequent flyers are extra seemingly than those that fly much less typically to have a substantial amount of confidence on all classes: that airplanes are being correctly maintained, are secure from structural faults, that air visitors controllers are well-trained, that pilots are well-trained, that authorities businesses have enacted the required security rules and that it’s secure from terrorist acts.

Randi Niedfeldt, a retired doctor assistant in Wisconsin, has a substantial amount of confidence within the planes, regardless of the current incidents. Her husband is a leisure pilot, and he checks the kind of aircraft they’ll be flying on, however they don’t keep away from any particular make or mannequin.

“What number of large airplane crashes do you hear about?” she requested. “Once they occur, they’re catastrophic, however they don’t occur fairly often for the quantity of flying that’s carried out.”

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The ballot of 1,152 adults was carried out Jan. 25–29, 2024, utilizing a pattern drawn from NORC’s probability-based AmeriSpeak Panel, which is designed to be consultant of the U.S. inhabitants. The margin of sampling error for all respondents is plus or minus 4.0 share factors.



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