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Commercial air travel has grown safer over the last 50 years, according to readily available public data, contradicting President Trump's tweet this morning suggesting that technology has made air travel more dangerous.

Expand chart
Data: Aviation Safety Network, World Bank; Chart: Harry Stevens/Axios

Background: Trump's tweet came two days after an Ethiopian Airlines flight crashed shortly after taking off from Addis Ababa, killing all 157 people on board. Though the cause of the crash is not yet known, the president tweeted that "airplanes are becoming far too complex to fly."

  • Acknowledging that flying a plane has become "highly complex," Frank Jackman, a spokesman for the Flight Safety Foundation, cautioned against the suggestion that planes have become too complex.
  • "Is it too complex to fly?" Jackman said.
  • "Four billion people flew last year, the vast majority of them safely."

By the numbers: In 1970, 1,474 people died in plane accidents. By 2017, the figure had dropped to 59, even as the number of passengers increased nearly 13-fold.

"There's no question that aviation has become safer," said Perry Flint, a spokesman for the International Air Transport Association. "There are just a lot of reasons, but underlying it certainly is technology."

  • Technologies like ground proximity warning systems, auto pilots, advanced weather radar, wind shear alert systems and other avionics have afforded more safety.
  • Other factors, like improved pilot training, industry cooperation and engineering advancements, have also contributed.

Go deeper

Kaine, Collins' censure resolution seeks to bar Trump from holding office again

Sen. Tim Kaine (center) and Sen. Susan Collins (right). Photo: Andrew Harnik/Pool via Getty Images

Sens. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) and Susan Collins (R-Maine) are forging ahead with a draft proposal to censure former President Trump, and are considering introducing the resolution on the Senate floor next week.

Why it matters: Senators are looking for a way to condemn Trump on the record as it becomes increasingly unlikely Democrats will obtain the 17 Republican votes needed to gain a conviction, Axios Alayna Treene writes. "I think it’s important for the Senate's leadership to understand that there are alternatives," Kaine told CNN on Wednesday.

Stark reminder for America's corporate leaders

Rosalind "Roz" Brewer is about to become only the second Black woman to permanently lead a Fortune 500 company. She starts as Walgreens CEO on March 15.

Why it matters: It's a stark reminder of how far corporate America's top decision-makers have to go during an unprecedented push by politicians, employees and even a stock exchange to diversify their top ranks.

Ina Fried, author of Login
Updated 3 hours ago - Technology

Apple's quarterly sales top $100 billion for first time

Credit: Apple

Spurred by strong sales of the latest iPhones, Apple reported it took in a record $111 billion in revenue for the three months ended Dec. 31, as the company crushed expectations.

Why it matters: The move showed even a pandemic didn't dull demand for Apple's latest smartphones.