With no trace of the missing Malaysia Airlines jet, Australian travel agencies have seen a marked decline in leisure travel bookings across all areas.
China Travel Service Australia says in the five days since the airliner went missing, overall interest and sales in leisure tours and flights has decreased by 20 per cent.
Based in Sydney, CTS Australia is one of the largest and fastest growing Asia based travel companies.
Sales and marketing manager Barbara Boyce told The New Daily while business and wholesale markets hadn’t been affected, the leisure market had been hit by fears of travel.
“Leisure travel is flexible and people are giving it some time and, I think, having second thoughts about leisure travel because it’s not mandatory.”
She said the concern wasn’t limited to Malaysia Airlines, instead affecting air travel across the board.
I’m honesty kinda scared to fly Friday since that plane from Malaysia airlines disappeared
— abigailchristina (@AbiChristina) March 11, 2014
Boyce said while she couldn’t predict how the travel market would be affected in the future, she thought Malaysia Airlines still had a strong brand.
“Malaysia Airlines have a very good product and one of the most established and experienced crews around – I’ve always thought highly of the crew.”
An Australian expat living and working in Kuala Lumpur said for many people who travel in Asia, it was “business as usual”.
“Obviously a lot of talk amongst the expat community on this but most of the seasoned expats here have ASEAN roles and travel frequently. I don’t think it has impacted upon their travel plans too much if at all – still I was a bit nervous boarding the flight this morning,” he told The New Daily. He asked not to be named.
But the huge worldwide interest in the missing flight could be testament to how safe flying really is – it’s big news because it’s rare.
While it’s not the safest method of travel (you might want to get on a bus, train, tram or ski chair lift for that), it’s certainly still better than driving a car. Here are some facts to reassure you before you get on your next flight.
Fewer deaths overall
According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, 1059 Australians died in motor vehicles in 2009, in contrast to 27 people who died in the air. In that same year, there were more cyclist deaths (35) and transport-related deaths on the water (35) than there were fatalities in the air.
Safety in the US
According to a 1993-95 study by the US National Safety Council, it’s 22 times safer to fly in a commercial jet than to travel by car. In the US, the general aviation fatality rate fell between 1975 and 2000 from 4.3 deaths per 100,0000 hours flown to 1.9 deaths.
Safer than cars
According to a study by the ABS between 2000 and 2002, 54.3 per cent of transport-related deaths involved cars, compared with only 2.3 per cent involving aircraft. Pedestrian (17.2 per cent) and motorcycle (11.7) deaths were both higher.
According to the International Air Transport Association, there were 786 aircraft fatalities in 2010, compared to 1,367 road traffic fatalities in the same year in Australia alone.
Safer than helicopters
Helicopters usually have a higher rate of accidents and fatalities than all other types of aeroplanes, according to the Australian Transport Safety Bureau, which is our national transport safety investigator.
Safer than boats
Between 2000 and 2002, watercraft accounted for almost four times more serious injuries than aircraft in Australia, according to the ABS.
Improving in safety
According to the International ATA, the global accident rate was one accident for every 1.6 million flights in 2010, which was the lowest in aviation history. In 2010, 2.4 billion people flew safely on 36.8 million flights.
Lower odds of dying
According to the US National Safety Council, the odds of dying as a car occupant are 1 in 415, compared with 1 in 907 for a motorcycle rider and 1 in 7229 in an aircraft accident.
But you’d be better off on public transport
According to the ABS, trains, trams and buses all have lower rates of serious injuries and deaths than flying.