Readers of Chapter 5 of Numbers Rule Your World already know that the U.S. has a strong air safety record. The MIT scholar, Arnold Barnett, has concluded that we have "nowhere to run for safety". Dying in a plane crash is in essence a random event.
Here are several recent articles updating the situation:
USA Today reports that the safety record has improved further in the last few years (link)
Wall Street Journal says the regulators are increasingly focused on "surface threats" rather than in-the-air incidents (link).
A researcher claims to have found a relationship between profitability and safety risk (link): I have yet to examine this study; based on this write-up, I don't think it's ready for prime time. He proposes that safety risk goes up whether an airline is above or below profitability target. It's unclear whether he looks into whether there is a third factor that affects both safety risk and risk of making a profitability target. Also, if Barnett is right that safety risk is essentially random, does it make sense to find factors that explain a random factor?