Sixteen days after the crash of Air Asia Flight 8501, its flight data recorder, cockpit voice recorder, parts of the aircraft and remains of 48 passengers were discovered in the Java Sea a few hours ago today.

Indonesian officers began the search on January 3rd, after locating the debris with a sonar scan of the sea floor. Upon retrieving the jet’s two black boxes and the tail of the aircraft, officials are able to gain vital information as to why and how exactly Flight 8501 crashed.  With many indicators pointing to weather conditions as the culprit, all speculations will soon be settled as soon as officials in Jakarta download the cockpit recordings in two weeks.

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As the third most appalling airplane incident of the year of 2014 after the disappearance of Malaysian Airlines Flight 370 and the shooting of Flight 17, the crash of Flight 8501 instilled apprehension among flyers and travelers across the globe.  The safety of air travel has been critically questioned in light of this alarming string of events.  It causes the frequent flyer to puzzle over whether or not air travel is worth the risk.

In a USA Today College blogpost, the interviewed students expressed the “low chance” of them “[ending] up in a plane crash” when they are on “one out of thousands of flights”.  It is almost as if air travel has become a wager – a bet placed after purchasing an airplane ticket.  Students have also stated that traveling with “world-class airlines” (such as Delta Airlines) decreased their fear of air travel.  That means expensive airfare for the same destinations non-world-class airlines offer.  On the other hand, you’re buying (more, but not guaranteed) safety.

More money, more safety – is that the formula to safer air travel? The West Australian says yes.

They assert that we would be “paying for one of the world’s most sophisticated plane monitoring systems that detects problems before they become serious”, while uncovering the fact that Indonesia Air Asia left the International Air Transport Association’s Operational Safety Audit, or the IOSA, incomplete.  According to The West Australian, it is statistically proven that airlines who have the IOSA completed “have a 4.3 times better safety record than ones that have not”.  Perhaps spending a little more money on that airplane ticket will buy you safety – or just so you can relax at the idea that the International Air Transport approves of your flight.

Nonetheless, flyers shouldn’t be overly anxious of flying because of the recent aviation incidents. CNN launched a report that shows statistically that the numbers of plane crashes have improved significantly over the years.  In fact, we are in the “safest-ever overall period in aviation history”.

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Global Commercial Crashes since 1946 (Aviation Safety Network)

 

With that in mind, on your next flight, take time to appreciate the advancements of aviation technology and focus on the exciting places you’re traveling to instead.