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2014 was a surprisingly safe year for air travel

Despite several high-profile plane crashes in 2014, the number of airline accidents actually continued to trend down.

Reddit user Mapquestify charted the trends using data from the Aviation Safety Network:

airline deaths chart

(Mapquestify)

It's not confirmed that the passengers in AirAsia flight QZ8501, which disappeared on December 29 over the Java Sea in Southeast Asia, are all dead. But if it holds up, the chart shows that the two airline accidents that got the most attention this year — AirAsia flight QZ8501 and Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, which disappeared over the South China Sea on March 8 — were by far the deadliest. (The chart excludes Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 since its crash was the result of an attack, not an accident.)

But the chart also shows that 2014 wasn't a bad outlier in terms of accidents, aligning with reports from the Wall Street Journal, Business Insider, and Reuters that flying is actually getting safer overall.

Reuters and Business Insider reported:

If the Indonesian-registered aircraft is confirmed to have crashed, killing all on board, the accident would make 2014 the worst year for loss of life in civil aviation since 2005, when 1,014 people were killed in passenger accidents, according to the Netherlands-based Aviation Safety Network.

But the number of fatal accidents in 2014 would stand at only eight, if flight QZ8501 is included, compared with 24 in 2005. This would be the lowest in memory, reflecting the peculiar nature of this year’s disasters.

"Remarkably, 2014 has the lowest number for passenger flight accidents in modern aviation history," said Harro Ranter, founder and director of Aviation Safety Network, which runs an independent database.