Flying safer than staying at home, says aviation journalist | News | DW | 25.03.2015
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Flying safer than staying at home, says aviation journalist

UK-based aviation journalist John Walton has spoken to DW about the probable fallout on Europe's air industry after the Germanwings disaster that killed 150 people in the French Alps.

DW: Given what we know so far - that the plane lost contact and descended for eight minutes before crashing - what are some of the probable causes for such an accident?

Right now we really can't say anything without wildly speculating, which wouldn't be responsible.

With this latest deadly air disaster how can we rate the relative safety of flying?

Flying is safer than staying at home. There are significantly more accidents in the home than there are in the air. Obviously, with the way the human mind works, this is what's known as a "dread risk."

Humans are interminably bad at assessing the likelihood of these incredibly low-likelihood-yet-high-impact events. People should be very reassured that the aviation industry is incredibly safe and continuously getting safer. This accident, like every accident, will result in safety improvements on an ongoing basis.

How might this disaster affect the air travel industry? Germanwings flies short and medium-haul flights within Europe and people do have alternatives to reaching their destination.

I doubt it will impact very much at all. Germanwings and its owner Lufthansa Group is a very safe operator. In terms of logistics, Germanwings have today started leasing TUIfly (Boeing) 737s to start assisting them with their schedule so it shouldn't be a particularly large impact for anyone. Obviously, there will be people who hear Germanwings and associate it with this incident which is very unfortunate as it's a very safe and responsible operator.

Germany's flagship carrier has already been grappling with industrial action with its pilots' union. How might this disaster impact Lufthansa Group and its subsidiaries?

I'm not sure if it's possible to say at this stage. I think that's something people will start thinking about in days and weeks to come once the remains have been recovered and we know what happened to this aircraft.

John Walton is an aviation journalist who is monitoring developments on Twitter (@thatjohn)

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