FAA Quantifies Value of Life

In March 31, 1998 the FAA in the Federal Register determined the value of a life when it is lost in an aircraft accident. They said:
"Assuming that the average air carrier airplane has 162 seats, 69 percent of which are occupied; the airplane replacement cost is $30 million; and the value of an averted fatality is $2.7 million; then the economic value of one accident in which an airplane is destroyed and there are no survivors is approximately $345.9 million."

Source: Federal Register, March 31, 1998 (Vol 63, No 61) p. 15712
Online Document ID: fr31mr28-29 [47K]

This figure has apparently been drawn from past litigations and other damage awards to the families of passengers killed in commercial airliners.

Tenerife, March 27, 1977, two Boeing 747s collide: 538 dead In other words, an averted fatality is merely the cost of your life when you travel on an aircraft. Which brings up the following questions:

  • If the accident rate is low enough that the profit so far exceeds the costs incurred and the loss of profit of fixing the problem so far outweighs the status quo, why fix the problem?
  • Why are those corporations and government agencies unwilling to recognize the benefits of a proven design?
  • Could it be that their profit margins might go down?
  • If these corporations and government agencies act in such a way as to prevent the free flow of ideas and capital, is it really a free market, a free country?

Dangerous landings REMEMBER: Whenever you board a commercial aircraft - feel rich! During the time you're on the plane you're worth at least $2.7 million --- to the airline ... and to your relatives.

A solution has existed for the last 60+ years. It doesn't have to be this way. As Plato said:

"The penalty good men pay for indifference to
public affairs is to be ruled by evil men."


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