Donald Trump can take no credit for a lack of aviation deaths in 2017

There is literally zero reason to believe Trump had anything to do with 2017 being a good year in aviation

By Matthew Rozsa

Staff Writer

Published January 2, 2018 11:45AM (EST)

Donald Trump prepares to board Air Force One (AP/Evan Vucci)
Donald Trump prepares to board Air Force One (AP/Evan Vucci)

President Donald Trump is the target of criticism and ridicule for erroneously claiming that the lack of commercial aviation deaths in 2017 was somehow due to his administration.

Trump may have been responding to a recent report by the Dutch affiliate of the U.S.-based nonprofit Flight Safety Foundation that there were no fatalities from passenger jet crashes in 2017, according to The Wall Street Journal. (The deadliest incident of the year was in Turkey, where a 747 cargo jet crashed, killing four crew members and 35 people on the ground.)

But in the United States, the trend showed that air travel was consistently safe; except for a 2013 Asiana Airlines crash that killed three in San Francisco, you have to go back to a 2009 crash in a suburb of Buffalo, New York, to find a deadly air crash according to the National Transportation Safety Board.

None of these positive statistics have anything to do with Trump. For one thing, Trump can hardly be credited for the lack of crash-related fatalities outside of the United States. Within this country, however, Trump has done absolutely nothing to increase restrictions on airlines for the sake of promoting safety. His claim is completely without merit.

Twitter users have noticed this fact and drawn attention to it.

The final tweet referenced an embarrassing debacle from Trump's business career, one reported by the Boston Globe last year. After creating Trump Shuttle as a competitor to companies like Pan Am (which Trump claimed could not be as safe as his own airline), Trump was humiliated when within the first three months of Trump Shuttle, the nose gear failed on one of his jets, forcing a crash landing at Logan Airport.

Trump later attributed the failure of his airline to markets rather than his own leadership.

"I ran it really well. But the markets collapsed. The whole thing collapsed. For airlines, real estate. Everything. It was the depression," Trump said at the time.

By Matthew Rozsa

Matthew Rozsa is a staff writer at Salon. He received a Master's Degree in History from Rutgers-Newark in 2012 and was awarded a science journalism fellowship from the Metcalf Institute in 2022.

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