Video Duration 26 minutes 00 seconds
From: Counting the Cost

A deadly year for the aviation industry: What went wrong?

2018 was one of the deadliest years for the aviation industry, particularly for plane-maker Boeing and its 737 Max.

With trade tensions, disputes over aircraft subsidies and the slowing global economy, it is a tough time to be in the aviation industry.

But there is a more troubling trend that the industry could do without.

2018 was the deadliest year the aviation industry has experienced for some time. There were 523 deaths last year – the highest number in four years, and up from just 59 in 2017. And this year is already looking bad – there were 232 deaths from the accidents involving Ethiopian Airlines and Russia’s Aeroflot. That is well above the five-year average of 189 fatalities a year, according to the Aviation Safety Network.

On the front line of the industry’s troubles is plane manufacturer Boeing. Its 737 Max has been grounded since March after two fatal crashes, which killed a total of 346 people. Preliminary investigations have suggested that software intended to improve the plane’s handling was faulty.

Aviation analyst Alex Macheras tells Counting the Cost that Boeing’s reputation has “suffered massively” as a result of the crashes and the handling of the crisis. The company is now looking at rebranding the 737 Max in an attempt to regain some public trust.

“We shouldn’t underestimate the damage that this has done,” Macheras says. “But Boeing as a company, they will get over this. They got over the [problems with the] 787 Dreamliner and they will get over the problems with this aircraft.”

What’s behind Italy’s drive for a new domestic currency that could see it dumped out of the eurozone?

Last month, Italian MPs approved a non-binding motion to pay creditors and suppliers with mini-Treasury bills. This, in simple terms, means they want to create an alternative currency to the euro.

The move rattled the markets because, on the face of it, such a move could lead to an Italian exit from the eurozone. Italy’s eurosceptic Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini is keen on the idea of the parallel currency, and it comes at a crucial time, given the coalition is locked in a battle with the European Union over its budget plan. Brussels wants Rome to cut its public debt and rein in its budget deficit – or it could be fined.

Nicola Nobile, a senior economist at Oxford Economics, tells Counting the Cost, “Some politicians suggest that Italy will be better off outside the euro, with a much weaker currency and the possibility of printing as much money as they want, in order to finance more debt.”

“But we don’t think the problems of Italy are related to currency or the lack of fiscal expansion. So in our view, this will be a huge mistake, creating probably a huge financial crisis with very negative implications.”

Should you be concerned by the time your kids spend on screens?

In April, the World Health Organization (WHO) recommended children under one-year-old should not be exposed to electronic screens at all, and that children between the ages of two and four should have no more than an hour of what it calls “sedentary screen time” each day.

But equally, screen time – particularly educational apps – can be incredibly beneficial to young people who are growing up with digital technology being the norm, rather than the exception.

There are those trying to reverse the trend, young start-ups that see the benefit of technology, but in a different way.

Yoto is a device which aims to give children access to music and audiobooks, without a screen or the all-hearing smart speaker.

Ben Drury, CEO of Yoto, tells Counting the Cost, “We are not completely anti screens … but we see that audio-based content allows [children] to carry on playing and getting physical exercise while they are actually engaging with the content.”