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Home > Air Safety > Are short-distance trips more dangerous than longer ones?
Are short-distance trips more dangerous than longer ones?
Aviation - Air Safety
Sunday, 01 January 2006 10:22

Dear Capt Lim,

I just flew on a Philippine Airlines 737 jet to Kalibo Aklan and the flying time was just 45 minutes, cruising at an altitude of 27,000 feet.

My question is, since this is such a short flight, how many round trips can a 737 make in a day?

Isn*t shorter trips more dangerous since the plane and the pilots does so many number of take-offs and landings, or are these planes made more tougher and the pilots more experienced, as compared to the bigger long-distance planes?

Benard.

Hi Bernard,


Depending on the airline, a carrier would like to see its planes flying most of the time rather than sitting on the ground or else it loses money.

How many round trips can a Boeing 737 make in a day? Well, you can work this out by the number of flights flown in a day by this way: estimate the length of the flight with about 45 minutes on the ground for catering, refueling, maintenance, etc, and taking into consideration when the airports open and close for operations. In addition, you have to take into account that the Boeing 737 has to observe the regulated maintenance schedule as well. Lets say, on a 12 - 14 hours day with a sector length of between 45 - 60 minutes, a 737 can make about 4 - 6 round trips a day.

Statistics have shown that about 75 per cent of accidents occur during takeoffs and landings. So, it is obvious that long-haul flights on bigger planes with lesser takeoffs and landings are generally safer.

Further, all planes are designed to be tough for their specific operations and pilots in major airlines (as compared to small carriers) received good training due to better management and finance. It is also found that an airline with better training facilities has better safety records.

Thus, on shorter trips, a passenger is naturally more exposed to air safety related problems than longer ones. Short-hop flights are not neccessary dangerous per se as long as you reduce the frequency of travel on them; but remember - flying is still one of the safest form of transportation.

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