NEW YORK, Dec. 29 (UPI) -- Commercial flying in the United States and elsewhere in 2012 was safer than it has been in more than nearly fifty years, industry data show.
There have been 22 commercial airline crashes resulting in fatalities this year, down from 28 in 2011, data from the Aviation Safety Network show.
The 10 year average for crashes with fatalities is 34 per year, The Wall Street Journal reported Saturday.
The most recent commercial flight that crashed with fatalities in the United States, including cargo and passenger flights, was in 2009 near Buffalo, N.Y.
The improved safety record is attributable to more reliable equipment and the airline industry's adoption of a policy of no retribution against pilots or mechanics who report technical problems, the Journal said.
"Overall, it was the certainly the safest year ever," according to Paul Hayes, director of safety at Ascend, a consulting firm that complies an annual report on airline safety.
Previously, 2011 had been the safest year ever, but 2012 is "almost twice as safe" as that, the report from Ascend said.
Ten of the 22 fatal crashes in 2012 involved commercial passenger flights, with three of those involving large jetliners and seven involving turboprop planes.
For the year, 470 people died in airline crashes, a 61 percent drop from the 10-year average of 770 fatalities per year.