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They are only "too big to fail" because the safety standards for airline travel are so high especially considering their market size. Compare it to driving: the global airline market in 2019 is expected to be 856 billion USD [0] while the US new car sale market alone was 956 billion USD in 2019 [1] which does not include other markets, the energy to power cars, nor the labor costs for driving so the car industry is way bigger. This table [2] says airlines are 62 times safer per km traveled.

I don't see how you could have a competitive market like cars when the safety standards are an order of magnitude higher than driving and yet probably an order of magnitude smaller in size.

[0]: https://www.statista.com/statistics/278372/revenue-of-commer...

[1]: https://www.ibisworld.com/industry-trends/market-research-re...

[2]: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aviation_safety#Transport_comp...




Deaths per kilometer is not a good metric when comparing safety between methods of transportation. You'd rather look at deaths per journey, and suddenly car travel looks very safe.

It's also worth considering that car crashes are disproportionately caused by drunk and teenage drivers. If you are between 25 and 70, drive in the daytime and don't drink yourself you can beat the safety record of airlines! There's no need to argue for laxer airworthiness standards using bad statistics.


> Deaths per kilometer is not a good metric when comparing safety between methods of transportation. You'd rather look at deaths per journey, and suddenly car travel looks very safe.

Cars can travel extremely short ranges and extremely long ranges which skews their "journey" statistics as most people use them for short trips. Planes are only efficient at long ranges so "journey" statistics look bad but if everyone were to drive everywhere instead of fly, human fatalities would definitely go up.


Deaths per journey is absolutely dominated (edit: aka very low) by walking which is also completely uninteresting.

You can slice the numbers in many ways, but in truth you can only substitute similar distances between modes of transit. Aka you can’t substitute a 1km car trip for a 10,000 km aircraft trip. Making deaths per passenger distance the only meaningful metric.


> Deaths per journey is absolutely dominated by walking

I can't see how you came to this conclusion, I'd expect walking to be the safest by far on this per-journey accounting.


Re reading I see it’s ambiguous. I meant denominated in a positive light.


Ok, but then you ignore serious injury caused by cars, which is around 20x more often than deaths. And something you don't really get with airlines.

Cars are the deadliest thing we have in modern society.




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