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Berne-Knox-Westerlo CSD: Closing Early 1:30p, No PM Pre-K, No Aft-Sch Pgm, No PM BOCES, No PM Actvty, No Y's Time After School No Budget Advisory MeetingBurnt Hills-Ballston Lake CSD: Open, No PM BOCES, No PM Activities, No After School Events, Regular DismissalCOARC Adult Transportation: Open, No Transportation, Open, No Transportation, Staff reportCairo-Durham CSD: Closing Early 10:45a, Elem 11:45a, MS/HS 10:45a, No Aft-Sch Pgm, No PM BOCESCanajoharie CSD: Closing Early 11:30a, No PM Pre-K, No PM BOCES, No PM ActivitiesCatskill CSD: Closing Early, Elem 12:30p, MS/HS 11:30a, No PM Pre-K, No After School Events, No Late BusCatskill Mt. Christian Academy: ClosedChatham CSD: Closing Early 11:30a, Elem/HS 11:45a, MS 11:30a, Chatham Central School closing early No afterschool activitiesChatham Kids Club: Closed, no afterschool todayChurch of the Covenant: Closing Early 2:15p, There will not be any curch meetings tonight. Meetings will be rescheduled., Do to the inclement weather there will be no meetings at the church this evening.Circle of Friends (Ravena): Closing Early 12:30p, Greene County Children OnlyCobleskill-Richmondville CSD: Closing Early 12:15p, No After-School Programs, No PM Activities, Radez & HS: 12:15 pm Golding & Ryder: 12:27 pmDominican Retreat and Conf Ctr: Closed, Interfaith Dinner canceled tonughtFonda-Fultonville CSD: Closing Early 11:30a, No PM ActivitiesFort Plain CSD: Closing Early 11:45a, Elem 11:45a, HS 11:30aGalway CSD: Closing Early 2:15p, No After-School Programs, No PM Activities, No Afternoon Y Care ProgramGrand Gorge Head Start: ClosedGreene County Transit: ClosedGreenville CSD: Closing Early, Elem 11:30a, MS/HS 11:47a, No PM Actvty, No After School EventsHunter-Tannersville CSD: Closing Early, Elem 1:45p, MS/HS 1:30p, No PM BOCES, No PM Activities, No After School EventsIchabod Crane (Kinderhook) CSD: Closing Early 1:45p, MS/HS 12:45pJohnstown City SD: Open, No PM Activities, No After School Events, Regular DismissalLansingburgh CSD: Open, No Aft-Sch Pgm, No PM Activities, No After School Events, Regular DismissalLexington Center Fulton Co ARC: Closing Early Noon, Dismissing 2 hours earlyMiddleburgh CSD: Closing Early, Elem 12:30p, HS 12:15p, No PM Pre-K, No Aft-Sch Pgm, No PM BOCES, No PM Activities, No After School EventsMohonasen CSD: Open, No Aft-Sch Pgm, No PM Activities, No After School Events, Reg Dismissal, No Adult EdMountain Road School: Closing Early Noon, Elem NoonMrs. Puddle Duck's Childcare: Closing Early 2pMyers Education Center: Open, evening CTE Open House canceled & rescheduled for Jan. 24New Lebanon CSD: Closing Early 10:30a, Elem 11:45a, HS 10:30a, No After School EventsOnteora CSD: Closing Early 10:45a, Elem 11:45a, MS/HS 10:45aOppenheim-Ephratah-St Johnsville SD: Closing Early, Elem 11:30a, JH/HS 11:50a, No PM BOCES, No After School Events, FREEZING RAIN ADVISORYRoxbury CSD: Delayed 2 Hrs, No After-School Programs, No PM Actvty, Reg DismissalSchenevus CSD: Closing Early 11:45aSchoharie CSD: Closing Early 11:30aSchoharie Career and Technical Scho: Closing Early 11:30a, No PM BOCESSchonowe Preschool: Delayed Until 9a, Preschool open on time Infant room opening at 9amSharon Springs CSD: Closing Early 11:30aUlster-Greene ARC (Catskill): Open, No TransportationUlster-Greene ARC (Kingston): Open, No Transportation, Training Center is closed.Windham-Ashland-Jewett CSD: Closing Early 11:30a, No After School EventsWorcester CSD: Closing Early 12:30p, No PM Pre-K, No Aft-Sch Pgm, No PM BOCES, No PM Actvty, No After School Events

Airline industry in U.S. continues to improve safety

Airline industry in U.S. continues to improve safety

The July 6 crash landing of an Asiana jetliner in San Francisco that killed three passengers and inj

The July 6 crash landing of an Asiana jetliner in San Francisco that killed three passengers and injured dozens more was a tragedy. Federal safety officials and aviation industry experts are investigating it thoroughly to determine how it happened and prevent it from happening again.

But hidden between the lines in the news coverage of the event is a remarkable story: the breathtaking, long-term improvements in safety in the airline industry. It is exactly the sort of good news the media too often ignore.

The early days of commercial air travel were shockingly dangerous by today’s standards. Coincidentally, 1929, the year of the great stock market crash, was also one of the most crash-ridden in aviation history, with 24 fatal accidents reported. In both 1928 and 1929, the overall accident rate was about one per every million miles flown. In today’s system, an accident rate of that magnitude would result in nearly 7,000 fatal accidents each year.

Fewer accidents

From that point on, though, the accident rate dropped rapidly and consistently. In the 1970s, there were 46 fatal accidents involving U.S. carriers. By the 1990s, the total dropped to 30. In the past 10 years, there have been nine. Astoundingly, there has been only one fatal accident involving a U.S. airline in the last six years: the 2009 crash of a commuter jet near Buffalo.

This record of success is even more remarkable given the dire predictions that were made after economic regulation of the airline industry was abandoned in 1978. Critics of deregulation charged that the elimination of federal controls on the rates charged and routes flown by airlines would usher in an era of aviation carnage as heartless businessmen cut corners to make a profit in the marketplace.

Predictions of disaster were made for years after deregulation took place, even as safety records improved. In 1986, for example, former pilot John Nance wrote in one often-quoted book, “Blind Trust”:

“The ultimate cost of [deregulation] may be measurable in more than services lost and leg room sacrificed. The true cost may be paid in passenger lives, because through haste and ignorance, Congress has inadvertently degraded airline safety.”

Others echo this theme. In 1988, Paul Stephen Dempsey of the Economic Policy Institute, a widely cited opponent of deregulation, warned, “The economic strains created by the intense price competition unleashed by deregulation have had a deleterious effect upon carrier safety.” Similarly, syndicated columnist Hobart Rowan warned in 1987, “As the grim record of near collisions on the nation’s airways proliferates, you and I are taking a bigger chance flying than ever before.”

No harm done

That is not to say that deregulation itself necessarily enhanced air safety.

The broad trend line of safety improvement, in fact, seems to have continued at more or less the same pace before and after deregulation. Of course, it is impossible to say what would have happened had there been no changes in policy. What is clear, however, is that the grim predictions of disaster by market opponents did not come true.

Why were the critics so off-base? One reason of course is that only the economic side of air travel was deregulated; airline safety regulation remained in place. But there is more. Rather than work against safety, marketplace incentives actually worked to further it. Rather than scrimp on safety measures to gain short-term profits, airlines have found it even more in their interest to ensure the safety of their passengers.

Simply put, no one makes money by putting passengers in danger. Dimly remembered carriers such as Air Florida and ValuJet learned that lesson the hard way after catastrophic accidents in 1982 and 1996, respectively.

And already there is word that Asiana will suffer a major market loss due to the accident. Markets provide what consumers demand - and air travelers demand safety most of all.

There is, of course, room for improvement in air travel safety in preventing crashes (whether due to accidents and or intentional acts of violence). It is not yet time to raise the mission-accomplished banner. But the safety gains already achieved are a stunning success for the aviation industry and a refutation of the pundits who predicted the opposite.

James L. Gattuso is senior research fellow for regulatory policy in the Thomas A. Roe Institute for Economic Policy Studies at The Heritage Foundation.

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