You will all be familiar with the Black Box recorder (actually red) which records many details of the flight to assist in investigations. It is a massive leap forward from the old days when the only evidence was that found at accident sites. What you may not know is that there is a second recorder which records EVERY flight no matter how routine. This recorder receives far more information than the Red Box and is analysed every day by airlines which have this fitted. Thus every flight, of every day, all year long, is recorded and analysed by sophisticated computers which throw up any anomalies that may have occurred - even small ones. This enables the airline pilot managers to find out what went wrong (however seemingly insignificant to the untrained eye) why it went wrong, and what they are going to do to fix it. So when you are en route - remember that everything that is happening on your flight is also being looked at elsewhere back at HQ. A case in point - a Jumbo was en route to JFK and the engine oil pressure was falling so slowly that it was not apparent to the crew - it was not yet an issue and not yet important. But, the engineers in London saw it and advised the captain who kept an even closer watch on the oil pressure. He would have seen it in any event, and there are onboard warnings as well, but it just shows the level of surveillance that is possible with modern systems of satellite communication.
For an update there have only been two accidents in the world this year on big commercial carriers - German Wings and Trans Asia with a total loss of 200 lives. Tragic as that loss was, it should be compared with over three billion people flying this year alone. By comparison, Ireland has around 4 million people and the road death count is usually up around 200 - getting better all the time but you take the point? It’s clearly many, many times more dangerous on the road than it is to fly.
To put it bluntly, you cannot really be anywhere safer than in a well-operated and well-flown commercial airliner. As the plane approaches for landing, some people feel nervous - so do I. And do you know why I feel nervous? Because very soon I will be in a car or a coach and that's when I begin to worry!